Archive | August, 2012

A farewell to politics

12 Aug

A little while ago I had a revelation. My passion in life was a passion of rage about politics. It was something I was intensely interested in, something I followed very closely, and the whole thing was toxic. Paying such close attention to what was going on in my country made me furious, jaded, and boundlessly cynical. It was like a drug. I would do things like flip over to the opinion section of the newspaper just so I could become incensed. I had to break out of this in order to find my happiness again.

I’ve unsubscribed from all of my political subreddits, I’ve cancelled my subscriptions to political news sites, I’ve stopped listening to news podcasts, and I’m actively trying to avoid any discussion of politics. I feel like an alcoholic trying to recover and to abstain. It’s extremely difficult, especially in our hyper politicized society. Whenever I catch myself thinking about politics, I try to immediately start thinking of something else, like travel. Hopefully I’ll break the habit and be free.

Trying to shed politics from my life in no way changes my views on politics or the state of this country. Democracy, freedom, and human rights are still a delusion. The US is still not a country governed by the rule of law. We are going to continue to regress in every area be it reproductive rights, the environment, equality, science, you name it. Basically, everything good is shit and every ounce of freedom or liberty you think you have is a shame. Any horrible thing you can imagine is most likely actually happening in some capacity or another. I still despise our society, its priorities, and all the injustices it needs to run. There isn’t a damn thing you, or I, can do to change any of this. The society is its own super-organism and the will of the individual cogs doesn’t mean a damn thing.

So in the face of this reality I’ve decided to cut the cord. I’m accepting the fate of the country and the world and I’m trying to become at peace by just putting it out of my mind. There’s no sense in becoming upset over something I am powerless to change. I no longer want to talk or blog about politics. Instead I want to focus on the things I do have control over, like traveling, and find happiness in that.

 

 

 

I landed a job!

11 Aug

I’ve been interviewing around for ages and I finally got a job as a computer tech for a school system! I’m really excited about it. It’s full time and I’ll be making more money than any other point in my life, which will really help me save up for moving out of the US. It feels amazing to actually have a job again, and a full time “real job” at that! Previously every dollar I spent while unemployed was a step away from my dreams, now I’ll be able to start moving towards them again! My self imposed deadline has always been Christmas, but I’m not sure if I’m going to go then, or stay on for an entire year. It depends on how much I have saved up and how bad things are getting in the country. My goal is $7,000, but $10,000 might be better. I also need to set up a small emergency reserve that would cover the cost of a plane ticket back to the states should anything happen to my family.

I was actually planning on leaving tomorrow to go on a spur of the moment adventure to Alaska, but then they called and asked that I be in on Monday. Oh well. At least I’ll be making money for a bigger, life changing trip.

One of the hardest things I’ve been having to deal with is combating the urge to buy all of my travel gear. I’ve been making lists, researching every item, comparing, trying things out in backpacking stores, etc, but I don’t want to buy everything now, only for it to sit in my closet for several months to a year. Plus, the price will probably drop over that time and something better might come along. Still, it’s so tempting!

Right now I think I’ve decided on a backpack I’d like to get: The Osprey Atmos 50.

 

I’ve been looking at a lot of packs and it was a close run off between this and the Osprey Exos. The Exos is like the Atmos, but slightly lighter and less comfortable. I figure that if I’m going to have something on my back I’d like the straps to be a bit beefier. When looking at packs I’ve been trying to find something with a hip belt and pockets (so I can keep my valuables right up front), something with a LOT of breathability, and few to no zippers in the back to help keep it secure. I think the atmos fits all of these, but I must resist buying it right now in case the price drops or something better is made between now and when I’m about to leave.

I keep thinking about that day, trying to imagine it, trying to imagine the week leading up to my departure. I don’t know what it will feel like. I imagine as the plane lifts off I’ll simultaneously feel an amazing level of relief, like I’m being let out of prison, that my life is finally and truly starting. I imagine the week leading up to it will be extremely exciting as I lay out my gear, pack everything, go down the list to make sure all is in order. I’ll be setting out on a grand adventure like explorers of old. I can’t wait!

My passion never left, it just changed forms.

3 Aug

Back around the time I was graduating college I started to lose my passion for history, archaeology, and everything I loved. Why? Well I think there were a variety of factors, but I haven’t got that all sorted out yet. What followed was this period of listlessness, of being adrift with no idea what to do. For the 2+ years following my graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do, no idea where my passion had gone.

But then I had an epiphany the other day: My passion never left, it just changed forms.

This occurred to me when I realized how my passion used to manifest itself. Back when I was in love with history, archaeology, etc, those were the things I constantly thought about. When I wasn’t actively talking to someone, or focused on completing a task my mind would inevitably wander back to those subjects. That’s how I knew I was passionate about them, I would always be thinking about those subjects.

Well after my personal collapse in 2010 I stopped thinking about those things by default. Instead my thoughts shifted to religion and politics. I had always been interested in these things, but they had previously taken a back seat to history and archaeology. I created this blog a long time ago as a way to nurture those thoughts that manifested themselves from time to time, and to give them a home, yet history was still my main focus.

Why did I feel my passion had disappeared? It took me two years to figure it out: Rage.

My passion for history and archaeology was built on love. I genuinely enjoyed talking about those things. I got excited to discuss them with others and they made me happy.

As things in my personal life started to fall apart, the happiness was replaced with this rage. I stopped thinking about things that made me happy and started thinking about things that infuriated me. It was not something I could consciously control, it was a byproduct of what was going on in my life.

Religion and politics were two issues I had always cared about, but now they had become toxic. I was consumed by them. I was constantly furious as my idle thoughts always returned to these poisonous subjects.

I felt lost and adrift because, unlike history and archaeology, religion and politics did not have a productive goal.

Back when I was in love with history I had the goal of becoming an archaeologist. It was something I was working towards, something to achieve. I had direction. When that mindset was replaced with rage, I lost that direction. There is nothing productive for me in religion or politics. I’m not about to become a religious figure since I think the whole thing’s bullshit, and I’m not about to go into politics because I have no faith in our system or the possibility of changing it through legal means.

So where does that leave me now?

I don’t know. I obviously need to replace the rage with love. I want so desperately to do that. I want to be happy again. I want to be somebody who’s excited about something, something positive. I just don’t know how to make that happen. I still have to figure that bit out, but this has been an amazing leap forward for me!

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