“I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.
Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”
So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.
Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.
It’s a love letter. To life.
It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights – and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.
“Words are momentary. Intent is momentous.”
I love Matthew McConaughey, so when my non-bookish sister-in-law recommended this audiobook, I immediately used my Audible credit and downloaded it. And now I have been telling everyone I know to listen to this audiobook, too!
I always loved McConaughey’s interviews, and his movies are all among my favorites. His versatility as an actor was hard-faught: once typecast as the hero in romantic comedies, he decided to pivot away from those roles and the results were life-changing. It was fascinating to me to hear the story behind this career shift. This book is filled with not only his life story, but his philosophy on life, relationships, work and family.
McConaughey doesn’t hold back when recounting his often tough childhood in Texas and his parents’ turbulent (and violent) marriages (yes, plural – they re-married each other several times). His memories of his childhood are both funny and poignant. I especially loved his account of the year he spent as a Roary exchange student in Australia while in high school. But while some people would let the obstacles that McConaughey faced hold them back or stop them from reaching their full potential, he uses his special brand of optimism to turn all these experiences into something positive. Greenlight.
This is a very candid memoir and the actor doesn’t seem to hold anything back. As a movie fan, I especially loved his accounts of auditioning for certain movie roles and recounting behind-the-scenes tales. McConaughey has a very endearing mix of down-home philosophy with very introspective observations on life and it all makes for a very winning combination. He always tries to give his very best to whatever endeavor he undertakes, and this book is but one example.
I always listen to audiobooks at 1.3 times the speed (I know, horrifying) but I had to listen to this one at the normal speed. It is an incredibly unique memoir that deserves your full attention. Highly recommend! I think this quote perfectly sums up McConaughey’s outlook on life:
“It’s better to jump than fall. And here I am. Greenlight.”