He was a poet, a musician, an activist, a father and a husband, the dream weaver and the writer of possibly the most challenging song ever written; but more than anything he was himself, he accepted who he was and what he did. John Lennon was more than just a public figure in his time; he was a portrayal of a fully alive human being. Few people of the twentieth century have left positive impressions on the world like John Lennon did with his lasting music and eternal messages of love and peace.
His life began on October 4, 1940, and, while ending just forty years later, it was a full life of purpose and meaning. Lennon spent much of his childhood growing up in Liverpool, under his Aunt Mimi’s roof. John was artistic from a young age, he cared little for toys or games, “his mind was going the hole time” recalled Mimi. John was not a typical child; it was writing poetry, drawing or reading when it came to entertaining himself. To John however, being typical was not what he was looking for in life, as he made clear later in life when he said “I’m not interested in being hip… I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything.” Nor did he conform, often making a lot of people angry about what he had to say on social issues that affected many, particularly in his post Beatles, yet still very public life, at the time of the Vietnam War.
John wasted no time being anything but himself, he believed that “You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are.” One of his major beliefs was peace for this world. Much of his time was spent voicing his view on war and politics in a public forum, whether it be through a song, a march or a drawing; He believed in what he had to say, and what he had to say was “we all have Hitler in us, but we also have love and peace. So why not give peace a chance for once.” Not ‘you have to want peace’, or ‘you have to listen to me because I’m right’ and not ‘you are a bad person if you don’t listen’. He simply believed that “…if everyone demanded peace instead of a new television, then there would be peace...” John believed his role in society, just as any other artist’s or poet’s role, was to try and express what he felt, not to tell people what to feel. “Not as a preacher or a leader, but as a reflection of us all.” Beyond his public life and image was the time he spent with his wife and children, who he loved unconditionally.
In his family John had belonging. Sons Sean and Julian were the inspiration behind many of John’s songs during his solo career, as was Yoko, the one person who John felt he had connected with more than any one else he had ever met. If there was anything John believed in as much as peace, it was love, a love that he provided for his children often whilst forgetting himself, at one stage taking a year of performing and recording to look after his youngest son. He did not feel that he was obliged to anyone at the time apart from his family, and in particular his son, he didn’t change who he was, but accepted his new role.
December 8, 1980, saw the world lose an incredible person. Ironically, Just 40 years after his birth, John Lennon died in a display of the very human behavior that he so completely opposed, shot dead by a man whom just hours earlier approached John Lennon as a fan. Too many, John Lennon was a friend, a friend never met, never spoken to in person, but a friend, nonetheless. He was a fully alive human being, whose messages, music and beliefs remain fully alive decades on, and will remain for decades to come- through his beliefs, his belonging, John Lennon’s dreams will remain eternal.