ZEITmagazin (Ge), January 10, 2018

"I still do not feel sufficiently prepared for my death"

by Jörg Böckem

(Translated from German to English by Google Translate, minor language edits by Anakin McFly.)

Keanu Reeves, 53, was born in Beirut and grew up in New York and Toronto. At 15, he first stood on a stage; at 17, he dropped out of school. He became world famous as the lead star in the action film Speed (1994) and in the Matrix trilogy (from 1999). Together with artist Alexandra Grant, he recently published the books Shadows and Ode to Happiness at Steidl Verlag.

I grew up without my birth father. In my early youth, I missed him a lot and often wished he was there. Maybe my life would have taken a different turn if he had been part of it. It's hard to say. When I was young, I often found it difficult to deal with complex, emotionally-charged situations and express my feelings. At that time, I always hurt people close to me. I'm very sorry for that. Sometimes I wish that the man I am today could be at the side of my younger self to help him.

My stepfather was a director. As a teenager, I was allowed to attend rehearsals and filming. That left a deep impression on me. When I was 15, I asked my mother if I could become an actor. She said I could become whatever I want. I took acting lessons, and got into my car at 20 and headed for Los Angeles. There never was a plan B. My dream has come true, and I am very grateful for that.

A few years ago I fulfilled another dream - a custom-made motorcycle for me. I love motorcycles: their aesthetics, the sound of the engine, the smell. But above all, it's the sense of freedom when I'm sitting in the saddle, surrounded by nature. In 2009, I asked a motorcycle manufacturer to design a bike that would suit my needs. Not only did this bike look great, it also performed better than any other I'd known. I wanted to share that with the world. Five years later, this resulted in a whole product line.

Of my nocturnal dreams, it's especially the nightmares that have burned into my memory - above all, there are nightmares in which I feel at the mercy of myself and feel trapped, or in which my teeth melt, or where I stand on stage during a performance and have forgotten my lines.

My biggest real nightmare is death. It is omnipresent in my life. In the span of just eight years, a close friend died, then my unborn baby and finally my then-partner. Even though I find it difficult to cope with, and the loss has long filled my dreams with sorrow, pain and anger, it has also given me a deep appreciation for life. I do not feel sufficiently prepared for my own death. I still have to work on that.

To this day, I sometimes dream of the times I spent with the loved ones who have since died. It is wonderful to see them again, to hear their laughter, to feel the love and friendship, even if it is only in the dream. Life holds equally fantastic moments and tragedies for us. They are all part of this special gift, of life. Although it may sound banal - experiencing love is our only hope to cope with it all.




In its original German:

"Auf meinen Tod fühle ich mich noch nicht ausreichend vorbereitet"

Keanu Reeves, 53, wurde in Beirut geboren und wuchs in New York und Toronto auf. Mit 15 stand er erstmals auf einer Theaterbühne, mit 17 brach er die Schule ab. Weltberühmt wurde er als Hauptdarsteller in dem Actionfilm Speed (1994) und in der Matrix-Trilogie (ab 1999). Zusammen mit der Künstlerin Alexandra Grant veröffentlichte er im Steidl Verlag kürzlich die Bücher Shadows und Ode to Happiness.

Mein Stiefvater war Regisseur, als Teenager durfte ich bei Theaterproben und bei Dreharbeiten dabei sein. Das hat mich tief beeindruckt. Als ich 15 war, habe ich meine Mutter gefragt, ob ich Schauspieler werden könne. Sie sagte, ich könne werden, was immer ich möchte. Ich habe Schauspielunterricht genommen und bin mit 20 in meinen Wagen gestiegen und habe mich auf den Weg nach Los Angeles gemacht. Einen Plan B gab es nie. Mein Traum ist wahr geworden, dafür bin ich sehr dankbar.

Vor einigen Jahren habe ich mir einen anderen Traum erfüllt – ein speziell für mich gefertigtes Motorrad. Ich liebe Motorräder, ihre Ästhetik, das Motorengeräusch, den Geruch. Vor allem aber das Gefühl von Freiheit, wenn ich im Sattel sitze, umgeben von Natur. 2009 habe ich einen Motorradbauer gebeten, ein Bike zu entwerfen, das meinen Bedürfnissen entspricht. Dieses Motorrad sah nicht nur großartig aus, es fuhr sich auch besser als jedes andere, das ich kannte. Das wollte ich mit der Welt teilen. Fünf Jahre später entstand daraus eine ganze Produktlinie.

Von meinen nächtlichen Träumen haben sich mir besonders die Albträume ins Gedächtnis eingebrannt – es sind vor allem Angstträume, in denen ich mich ausgeliefert und gefangen fühle, in denen meine Zähne schmelzen oder ich während einer Vorstellung auf der Bühne stehe und meinen Text vergessen habe.

Mein größter realer Albtraum ist der Tod, er ist in meinem Leben allgegenwärtig. Innerhalb von acht Jahren ist erst ein enger Freund gestorben, dann mein ungeborenes Baby und schließlich meine damalige Partnerin. Auch wenn es mir bis heute schwerfällt, damit zurechtzukommen, und der Verlust lange meine Träume mit Trauer, Schmerz und Wut erfüllt hat, so hat er bei mir auch zu einer tiefen Wertschätzung für das Leben geführt. Auf meinen eigenen Tod fühle ich mich noch nicht ausreichend vorbereitet, daran muss ich wohl noch arbeiten.

Bis heute träume ich manchmal von den Zeiten, die ich mit den geliebten Menschen verbracht habe, die inzwischen gestorben sind. Es ist wunderbar, sie wiederzusehen, ihr Lachen zu hören, die Liebe und Freundschaft zu spüren, auch wenn es nur im Traum ist. Das Leben hält gleichermaßen traumhafte Momente und Tragödien für uns bereit, sie sind alle Teil dieses besonderen Geschenks, des Lebens. Auch wenn es vielleicht banal klingen mag – Liebe zu erleben ist unsere einzige Hoffnung, um mit alldem zurechtzukommen.




Images:


Tagged:

Speed, Matrix, The, Shadows, Ode to Happiness, Arch Motorcycle, Translated from German



Comments

GuestLet Go of the Past K (2018-02-03 14:18:47)
 I believe K have an issue to let go. He still let the past kept haunting him. Past is a history K, just give your self a chance to have a true happiness.

Lesson learned. There are many reasons that your deceased love one are no longer play a crucial part in your life anymore. Who knew? But please restore your faith & hope towards the present.

I always look up to you & respect you the most. Deep to the core, I hope you will find the home that you always seek. Home where filled with your wife & children's laughter. You got this, I believe in you K !!

After many years observing him, his future wife must be upper hand in handling her emotional calmly because he intensely so into with his inner world & let the past keep holding him. *Sigh*

GuestBuddga quote (2018-04-18 17:58:23)
 Grief is the price we pay for love.

I also have lost too many loved ones.Husband parents cnhild
my heart goes ouot to you
keep stong.
Love and Light

GuestHe is happy (2018-04-25 09:48:24)
 He enjoys to be alone,and have less of need for peer acceptance than most.In fact,he feel most fulfilled while he's enjoying his time alone.He's not sad,He just like to be most in touch with himself.
His life... literally.Not everyone is looking for the same things in life.If he was looking for a wife and kids he already have done so.There are some people like me that are born to be loners and that doesn't mean that we're not happy.I don't understand why people keep telling that he needs to be married with kids to be happy.In his own words and I understand him very clearly " You need to be happy to live, I don't".
Guest (2018-04-26 02:04:07)
 I guess people are expressing their own thoughts and wishes, it's nothing personal to him.
Many are loners that end up in a relationship.
Alone time can still be had especially with two loners in a relationship.
Guest2018-05-31 (2018-06-01 02:33:14)
 sometimes in loving someone with every part of yourself, it's hard to lose what you had and to find your way home,(this seems to be what Reeves had with Miss Syme) when they leave you behind;carrying them with you, wherever you go, thinking of them, knowing you will never be really alone and that someday you will meet them again, making their loss a little easier to bear.

Happiness and how we/he defines such will not be the same for each and everyone of us

No one is ever prepared for death; lightmearing existence and life.It's the singular most thing man must do for himself.

"when love comes to the rescue, you will get through it all" oleta adams

Guest (2018-06-13 10:08:45)
 Where did he say he didn’t need to be happy to live? Also, I think Keanu knows or at least he should know we don’t get to meet them again.

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