Why am I always late to the pop culture party?
Seriously. Gilmore Girls and Harry Potter are the only other immediate examples I can think of, but I feel like I am always really, really late when it comes to experiencing the good stuff in real time. Granted, I was too young to watch Gilmore Girls when it debuted, but still.
This year I showed up late to the Hamilton bash. I’d like to think I was fashionably late.
You guys. I am obsessed. Hardcore obsessed–the soundtrack that has changed musical theater forever is always playing to drown out the noise of my keyboard tapping away as I plow through graduate school applications, it’s always playing when I drive to work in the mornings, it’s always playing as I attempt to run on the weekends.
It’s. Always. Playing.
It’s not one of those society-is-blowing-this-out-of-porportion things, either. Hamilton is just so stinkin’ good. The concept is admittedly odd, but it works.
If you live under a rock (don’t worry if you do; I’m always living under one, it’s quite comfy down here) you might not know that Hamilton is a musical that utilizes rap and hip-hop to tell the story of one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton.
I’m not a big rap or hip-hop fan, but when I listen to Hamilton, I am listening to poetry.
I’m listening to a soundtrack that tells the story of a scrappy, hardworking outcast who is desperate to find his way and leave his mark. I’m listening to a story about a man whose flaws try to outshine his genius, but fail. I’m listening to a narrative about American history and learning more about American history than I ever did in any of my history classes.
I’m listening to poetry that is moving, funny, witty, punny, powerful, provoking.
The Hamilton hype is too real, and the Hamilton hype is well-deserved.
I think what makes me love this musical so much is not the unconventional way that it is told–although I do love that aspect, too–but the way I can identify with Hamilton.
Heck. I can identify with almost everyone in this incredible musical.
Hamilton is so desperate to create a legacy; he is an insatiable workhorse. He “writes like [he’s] running out of time,” he assures his peers that “there’s a million things [he] hasn’t done” but “just you wait.” I feel like Hamilton; I’m always looking forward and working toward something. I find it hard to settle down and relax, to “take a break.”
It’s a flaw, but I’m never satisfied. This trait has helped me achieve a lot of goals throughout my life–a volleyball scholarship, an almost-perfect GPA, an internship with Disney. I become obsessive in achieving the next big thing. My mind becomes one-tracked–the process can be exhausting, but the reward is so thrilling.
But do these achievements even matter? Truly matter?
Ambition and the desire to do great things does matter to an extent, but what I think Hamilton considered a legacy throughout most of his life–awards, achievements, status, etc.–is not the legacy that truly counts. Yes, a legacy is “plating seeds in a garden you’re never going to see,” but those seeds aren’t status and name; they’re how you have treated others throughout your life.
Oh man. I’m getting cheesy again.
It’s so true, though. I think Hamilton (as portrayed in the musical) realizes this as he dies, but listening to this incredible musical has made me realize it in the here and now. Yes, all of my achievements are wonderful and I will continue to work hard to meet goals. Working toward the next big thing will always be in my nature.
I just need to remember to take the time to sow the seeds that matter most, to water time spent with loved ones, to let the sun in on relationships so that they may prosper and grow.
Isn’t it incredible that one musical written by one man could spark such an epic internal discussion?
Thank you, Hamilton, for helping me conquer my post-Disney depression and for helping me reflect and recharge. You are so awesome, and you will continue to be on repeat for the next few weeks…or months.