Matthew McConaughey on Catching More Greenlights
For over three decades, Matthew McConaughey has made us laugh, cry, and swoon with indelible performances that have made him a Hollywood fixture. From Dazed and Confused to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days to Dallas Buyers Club (for which he won an Academy Award in 2014), McConaughey’s versatile on-screen talent has proven just as seductive as his real life swagger.
Now, the 50 year-old leading man is opening up about his dynamic life off-screen in his first memoir, Greenlights, giving fans an inside look into his colorful Texas upbringing, his career, fatherhood and marriage.
We recently spoke to the Just Keep Livin’ Foundation founder about writing the book and what he hopes readers might learn from his wild and spirited journey to fame.
1. You’ve titled your memoir, “Greenlights.” Is there any special meaning behind that title?
Yes, Greenlights is another name for satisfaction and success I found in looking back over my last 50 years in this life. The book highlights means and methods to an approach we can each take into any circumstance that helps us catch more long term greenlights in our own lives, and in the lives of others, at the same time. Greenlights is also a roadmap for navigating the yellow and red lights in our lives so that they eventually, and sooner, can turn green.
2. You spent 52 days in the desert without electricity to write this book. What did you learn from that experience — and did it help you unintentionally prepare for quarantine during the pandemic?
The first 12 days were without electricity, the following 40 were still in solitary and remote places, but did have electricity. I’ve taken many solitary walkabouts throughout my life so I was already comfortable with the silence, and the internal noise that can come when we are stuck with the one person we cannot get rid of even if we wanted to, ourselves. I can say that this practice helped me adapt to the quarantine, or forced winter, as I call it.
3. The book is based on 36 years of your journal entries. How did it feel to confront your past in that way and did you find anything unexpected?
At first it was highly intimidating. I feared it. I thought I was going to be embarrassed, shamed, and potentially guilt ridden. Once I got the courage to go away with my diaries and not come home until I “had something,” the process of looking back so deeply became incredibly invigorating. I found that I laughed at most of what I thought would be embarrassing, and forgave myself for most of what I thought I would be ashamed and feel guilty about. I laughed, I cried, and I ended up having the best time with the best company I’ve ever been with, me. I also realized that Greenlights is essentially about just that, getting along with ourselves in the process of this rodeo called life, never truly reaching our destination until we die, and making the best of our time while we are here.
4. You've described the booked as “a love letter to life.” What are you hoping readers will takeaway from your memoir?
I hope readers are entertained, educated, and enlightened. I hope they laugh out loud and choose to adopt some of the wisdom bombs I’ve heard, found, and stole along the way. I believe Greenlights is and can be a tool for helping each one of us find our frequency, as individuals and as a collective. We are particularly living in a time of great distrust, of others and ourselves. Greenlights is about belief, in God and ourselves.
It’s about finding what I call the honeyhole:
Where what we want is what we need, and what we need is what we want.
Where we understand the responsibility of freedom and the freedom that comes with responsibility.
Where we trust what we believe in, and we believe in what we trust.
This interview was featured in the October 25, 2020 edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper publishes News and Views that Rise Above the Noise and Inspires Hearts and Minds. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.