501st Legion Star Wars Trooping

May the 4th Be With You: How Star Wars Changed My Life

I’m sure most of you are wondering what the hell. Are you really that big of a nerd to love Star Wars and have it affect your life in more ways than one? Why, yes!  ðŸ™‹â€â™€ï¸

I’ll be honest with you — Star Wars defined my childhood. My family didn’t have much growing up. As first generation immigrants, my father worked his way up as a hardworking blue collar man. We weren’t wealthy, but we felt rich. We didn’t know what we were missing because my parents provided what they could without spending too much money. For example, traveling was putting the kids into the station wagon and going camping (my first international trip was when I was 26 years old). I didn’t know what real spaghetti tasted like until I went to college (no, Mom, fish sauce is not bolognese). In fact, as most parents paid for their kids’ college tuition, my father and I innocently believed it was my responsibility to pay my way through.

These are not really hardships, but my childhood experiences molded my values. Now insert Star Wars (Episodes 4-6). I watched it many times as a child and the space soap opera taught me what was light and dark, what was good and evil. That it was OK to have dark moments as long as you see the light. I have fond memories of standing in line with my father, waiting not so patiently for the Return of the Jedi movie premiere at the Winchester San Jose Cinemas (no longer exists).

Factoid: Once upon a time, I had an opportunity to work at Lucas Film. Unfortunately I turned it down due to the low pay (sorry, Lucas, but living in the Bay Area was and still is not cheap).

Star Wars paved my way to a memorable Bavarian wedding in 2014. We were married in a stunning 800-year-old Catholic Church and had John Williams’ Star Wars music play by an organist during the ceremony. My mother-in-law surprised me with a 501st appearance. Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers escorted the wedding party to the reception area with the polka band playing the Cantina. One of my best lifetime memories (besides the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl in 2008).

A few years later, I quit Corporate America and started a travel company, Nomoon, which is named after the dialogue between Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker on the Millennium Falcon. “That’s no moon, that’s a space station.” Read more about this here.

Thanks to friends who insisted that I watch Clone Wars and Rebels (shout out to Jay), I have a deeper appreciation for the canon, more than ever. I am obsessed with Anakin Skywalker’s character arc — it’s such beautiful storytelling. I can relate to Anakin on so many levels. I also love Ashoka (how she feels about the Jedi Order is how I currently feel about humanity during quarantine). Ezra reminds me of myself when I was younger; a bit reckless and a tad cocky. I always thought I knew the answer to everything in my late teens and 20s. When you’re older, you definitely become wiser and humble.

My love for Star Wars came full circle when I recently joined the 501st Legion in 2017. Thanks to friends like Tony and Kaylee, I became a member (TK 88815) and have been trooping for several years, spreading the Star Wars unity. I find it rewarding to be part of an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together Star Wars enthusiasts and contributing to local communities through charity and volunteer work.

As you can see, Star Wars played an important role and changed my life. And I am happier for it. May the force be with you always.  🖤

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