How Hayao Miyazaki's movies have added meaning to my life

I was on twitter this morning when I saw that it was Hayao Miyazaki's 77th birthday. Out of all the filmmakers in my life (including Disney), none have had a profound an impact as Miyazaki. Growing up, I loved cartoons, and even though Disney has the characters and catchy songs, Miyazaki's movies told stories that moved me and shaped my identity. While he covers a multitude of important themes, a few are especially important to me.

This Miyazaki movie symphony in Shanghai was the best symphony I've experienced.

Cherishing your inner Child-at-heart
If I had to pick a favorite Miyazaki movie, it would be "My Neighbor Totoro." It may not be the most compelling, but there's so many memorable moments such as the iconic bus stop scene or the girls yelling at dust bunnies in the attic. Being the older sibling to a younger sister, I resonated with Satsuki being responsible but also playing make believe with Mei and laughing at the silliest things. Miyazaki reminds us that it's ok to let go, and cherish your inner child-at-heart by being carefree and doing what makes us happy.

Sometimes it's the little moments in life that matter the most
Miyazaki is a master at showcasing daily life and making a mundane task seem magical, from cooking breakfast in Yokohama in "From Up On Poppy Hill," to riding a train in "Spirited Away." While these aren't life changing moments, we can all learn to appreciate the simple things in life that have led us to where we are now.

The wind is rising... we must try to live!
I will always remember watching "The Wind Rises" with my friend Jared who passed away, because it was one of my last memories with him. Although dealing with death and destruction is a theme in the movie, another theme is seizing opportunities when they arise and pursuing our dreams. While death in life is certain, we must take every chance we are given to fly and make the most of life. That's something that's not taught in every Disney movie!

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