I just finished reading “The Time of My Life”, Patrick Swayze’s autobiography with his wife, Lisa Niemi. Being a teenager in the eighties, I was familiar with Patrick’s hit movies Ghost and Dirty Dancing, watching them both multiple times. My knowledge of this talented actor ended there. Biographies are my favorite reading, so I gobbled the back-story up on this hunky ballet dancing cowboy. That’s right, he was a rough cowboy whose nickname was Little Buddy, hid dad was Big Buddy, and he loved nature, horses, playing football and ballet dancing. Those hobbies just don’t fit together, but it worked out just perfectly for him.
While reading the book I started feeling blue inside, realizing that this genuine guy who wrote this story so beautifully had died. His book was released in September right after he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. The book touched me so deeply that I feel like I am going through a grief period over this complete stranger. It is sad to think he is gone. He was such a neat guy….so un-Hollywood! His honest account of his insecurities and struggles touched me. Patrick was constantly pushing himself, and his fear of not measuring up was always present. The insecurities he felt were real ….not being loved for who he was on the inside , being really hard on himself .….and he was Patrick Swayze! He was so candid about his low self-esteem. I think every human has part of this struggle built in their DNA, unless you are Dennis Rodman or some either egomaniac -freak.
Patrick Swayze was also a drinker, mostly at times when he was feeling defeated or like a big loser he would sink into a boozy haze. Isn’t that normal for a lot of actors and many folks in general? It can be so numbing to have the demons in your head quieted with alcohol and he knew it too well. I appreciated the truth in his story, attending rehab and how alcohol almost destroyed him and his marriage.
Patrick Swazye met his wife when she was 15 and they married when she was 18! They honeymooned in the dirt, camping under a tent for a week, and they loved it. They started out so poor, artsy and simple …even when he made it big, he still kept a non-glitzy lifestyle. He craved his rugged outdoorsy groove at his horse ranch named Rancho Bizarro and reveled in the one love of his life. Having only one marriage in Hollywood is anything short of a miracle, and these two made it work for over 30 years! Knowing that fact made me curious enough to buy and read their story. How did they stay married all those years? I just had to find out. Their love story was my favorite part of the book and it is a testimony to their friendship, shared interests, struggles and strong commitment to one another. I feel sad for his wife, Lisa, over the loss of her husband and best friend… like I said, after reading this story, I felt like I knew him personally and am sad Patrick succumbed to cancer after a 20 month battle.
Something that I took away from his story was the importance of keeping your dreams alive. Once achieved, or when you get as close as you will ever get, move on to the next dream. Don’t ever stop dreaming big for yourself….always chase the dream in front of you. That is what Patrick Swayze did over and over and over again.