Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Western World

Tomorrow I file for divorce. So today I decided to revel in something that makes me happy, and I spent my precious moments of free time researching real estate in Florence and Paris. It seemed like the best thing to do. I no longer believe that you can run away from your problems by simply moving. I tried that, maybe a hundred times. No matter where you go, you will still be with you. I get it. Change is internal. So, it isn't that I think that by moving to Europe, I would step off the plane and there would be background music playing and flowers abounding and everyone would be gentle and beautiful and in love. I would step off the plane and people would be rushing around, stressed, and I'd have to ask for help from someone who inherently hated me because I'm American, and Americans are stubborn, prideful, waste-producing machines... and I'd finally arrive somewhere with my unhelpful translator in my back pocket, with my luggage lost in transit and my baby on my head, in a run-down hole with a leaky rusty faucet that wasn't anything like it looked in the picture. I still think I would be happier there.

That's because I'm discovering that it is nearly impossible to step away from the robotic Americanized way of life that makes many of us feel so canned. I guess it isn't a problem for some people - some people are ok with living life that way, and others are ok with taking a huge stand AGAINST living that way, but I don't really fall into either category. I don't want to live that way. It feels bad to me, and yet I don't have the consistent energy to fight it all the time. I think people deserve better - I think people are better. All the conveniences that were originally intended to make our lives better, easier and fuller, have robbed us of the ability to feel at all. I'm not just talking about the obvious time-saving conveniences that end up saving no time at all. I'm talking about everything, the whole way we live life here in the states. It sounds so simple, and you hear it all the time, and yet nobody does much of anything about it. People spend more and more time staring at screens, and less and less time experiencing this incredible world directly. We look down at the ground and go from our air-conditioned houses to our air-conditioned cars, to our air-conditioned grocery stores full of food imported from around the globe without even thinking about it. And we know it. Everything is something we "have" to do. Everything is a list. But life is not a list. And try as we might to turn our world into a sterile computerized machine, it just won't work. You can't have it both ways. You can't have everything be easy breezy, and also be able to enjoy it. Some things are uncomfortable. Some things are just plain hard. And then when things aren't, you really appreciate those sweet moments. If you try to take away everything that's hard, you are left with a whole lot of nothing-ness.

Now that said, I don't mean to hate on America as much as I just did. I know that there are exceptions both ways, in how people choose to live life in every place. All I mean to say is that, for me, I know I would live a fuller life in a place where I was supported in a lifestyle of connection, and I don't think I'm the only one out there who feels that way. (Speaking of background music, please cue "We're All in this Thing Together" by Old Crow Medicine Show, as a concession of my insults towards America and westernized living in general.) I know there are great people everywhere. I just don't think this is the way for me. (Granted, I have no clue if/when I will actually step away from this place I've lived all my life. I just know I want to. It's good to dream. Keeps you in tune with your heart.) I also want to point out that I have no real belief that Florence or Paris are The Place To Be - but they're real pretty. It's a good start.

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