As I grow older I find my heroes are changing.
I used to think that success and even materialistic success (how big is my house, how nice is my car, how big is my bank account) was the biggest priority in life. My thinking was the more "successful" that I was the happier I'd be. Time has taught me that long ago I made enough money to be happy and materialistic objects yield no such rewards.
What brings me real happiness now is the thought (or idea) that I can make the world a better place before I go. My new heroes are the people who are effecting positive/good change in the world (~7min video):Patrick Stewart Gives Passionate Response to Question At Comicpalooza 2013
It is no secret that I'm not a big fan of movie stars, sports stars, singers and especially these reality celebrities. I equate all entertainers to court jesters. They are nice distractions from reality yet some how in our society the court jesters make more than scientists, teachers, doctors, etc. The people who effect amazing, positive change in the world. For example, I'd much rather see a society that pays a person millions of dollars a year when they sign up to the "teaching team" (when they become a teacher) rather than pay an entertainer, who plays a game for his/her own enjoyment, millions of dollars that has no long term meaning what so ever. Can a quarterback deflect an asteroid and save a city? Can a baseball player's accomplishments of playing a game even come close to a teacher who, over the course of their career, impacted thousands of young minds (their students learning to read, write, etc)? Can a basketball player cure a disease that affects millions? Why does a professional golfer make millions of dollars playing a game while a soldier, who risked their life defending our country and freedom, barely gets by? In my eyes our society's value system is totally backwards.
Patrick Stewart is an entertainer BUT he is making the world a better place before he goes. In my older age I'm seeing that as 100x more valuable than any of the entertainment that he has ever produced. He's made the world a better place. If he just did that and nothing more he'd fall into my re-defined hero category.
Just imagine if every single person improved the world before they left? What a wonderful world that would be. They'd be my hero.