Thursday, April 19, 2012

For me or you?

It was time for an adventure, and I had not seen my mom in a while, so I headed out west (by myself with a small backpack) to California, Los Angeles. And I got dropped off in Hermosa, by a cab. From there I walked and walked more, and toured the entire distance of the South Bay a couple times. I met a bunch of cool people, interesting, transplanted people working through life's various challenges. I wound up at my mothers front door early Sunday morning after a hike that started at 4:00 AM. Then together we decided to see a Le Mans style race down in Long Beach (The Long Beach Grand Prix) that proved to be the most fun we have had together, just the two of us, in twenty years. Then, a few short hours later, I got back on a plane to St. Louis.

Man, this could totally grow on me, these quick adventures. It shouldn't be, but it is...wanderlust again! I had a severe case of it when I was younger for different reasons. Back then I was trying to find myself, find out where I would go, what I would be, how I would end up. I moved probably 13 times in three years back in those days. Had a great time back then, if I recall.

I can still adapt pretty well, still have the skill to fold myself in to all kinds of situations and be comfortable while making others comfortable. I would have to make adjustments if I were to do more of this. I am not throwing away my life to walk the streets and be alone with folks I don't know all of the time. But the perspective on life from people who are genuine, man, that's empowering.

This time it was different, the feeling of re-connecting with my free spirit and being alone without things that are familiar. This time, the more challenged I felt, the farther I felt away from home. I wasn't out on the street, but rather, challenged by the feeling of being an outsider--detached. Yup, I had a wallet full of credit cards and as much cash as I needed. But I challenged myself to take things in through a different perspective. It's "the take" that we don't get while living in the suburbs, the right of middle existence that we charish. The absence of a car was one of the rules for the weekend, no contact with anyone that I knew, prior to arriving at my mothers. The journey would start at 4:00 AM and end at 4:00 AM. It was fun.

So yes, at the end of my 24 hour journey, I do feel a little more appreciative of what I have accumulated at home (materially and let's say, spiritually). It's indeed the culture of familiarity and the comfort of knowing the rules that brings you down, brings you home. But it's the culture of others who give contrast to who you are and where you come from. It is so uncool to be one dimensional. We all need the journey.

I still value my independence and my ability to "take things in" this way. I like to do things differently, always have, and crave to connect with things that are a little less "acceptable" by conventional standards.

I wrote down a couple things while doing my journey:

I have been on a conventional tangent and I am not happy about it--conforming to the doings’ of daily life, as most of us have, lacks contrast.

Don't be the tourist, be the homey.

I know sometimes this little burning fire can cast a shadow on the perception of others. Do you really care in the end? It is the "getting there" that matters.

It seems a no brainer deciding on whether to teeter or totter, to be authentic or posture. But we all  try to balance it all. (Because there are people that talk).

Authenticity is a color you can see, a fragrance that you smell; a tempo you can tap your foot, and warmth you can feel. I makes sense to break bread with those who are the most authentic to get a taste for it.

We should all get inspired by motivating ourselves and trying to "get" the world in a way that others don't. My hero's do this, how about yours? To emulate a hero is to reach for a higher perspective, a different perspective. You will find out a lot about your value system and find other people to admire along the way.

Now I haven't written much about conformity lately, perhaps its been to long? As I get a little older, being on the edge is a far better place, but things shift to that which is a little safer, because we worry more. You have to decide where you are in the cycle. I have done a lot of things on the edge and still come back to the familiarity of the conventional, homogeneous existence for that clean air, that resting spot. 

This is what I do; I take things in, away from the conventional perspective; gather experiences to use while navigating middle class class dogma. I seek to find people and places where there is authenticity; an unbridled conviction and understanding of things; an uncanny commitment to things that are part of a trued up value system. I see this in all sorts of folks in my community. The religious, athletes, artists, musicians, vegans, florists.

People ask me often, how am I doing? - Am I about finished with "all that stuff"?--can I get back to being me? And I think to myself: Which one of me am I to you? -- ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout...

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