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Ever feel like you’re going through the daily motions? Get up. Go to work. Come home. Go to bed. Repeat. An incessant, tedious circle of drudgery. Your parents were expected to do it, their parents before them, and now it’s your turn.

You swore you would never become like that. You had passions that didn’t fit into the generic plan. You struggle to retain your individuality, and yet you can feel the monotony begin to sap your strength. Before you get swept deep into a soulless existence, take a lesson in hope from this video. Alike is an award-winning animated short film by Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez, showing a father and son struggle with following the expectations of society and choosing their happiness.

This movie opens with a father and son preparing for their day. The town appears bland, void of color from the buildings and cars to the people, as they trudge to work and school. The father’s sole joy in his life is his colorful happy little boy, it’s what gives him that special spark, and keeps him from becoming like the other colorless souls. On the way to school, the boy stops by a musician playing his violin under a bright orange tree. The boy loves the music, but instead of letting him watch, his dad drags him away to school, where he is expected to do his lessons like the bland children.

Each day continues the same. Eventually, the boy, forced to conform, loses his zest for life. The father, whose joy was directly connected to his child’s, realizes he was wrong to make the boy follow all of the rules, as he watches the happiness in his boy fade. In hopes of reviving his boy, he suggests they stop to listen to the musician.

A glimmer of hope sparks in the boy, but the musician is gone, and the boy, hopes dashed, gets ready to turn to the bland life the rest of their world has accepted as their fate. The dad, desperate now not to lose that light in his boy, goes under the tree and though embarrassed, starts pretending to play the violin. The boy stops, shocked at first, then overjoyed, runs over to his dad and throws himself into his arms. In each other’s love, they both glow, vivid again in their happiness.

This moving story portrays a universal message: happiness can not be achieved by complying with the expectations of society, but by following our hearts. Decide to be happy. Choose to be you.

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