Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fresh Start


I could have created a new blog, but I didn't. leaving caLi(forniA) is four years of my history, and I like the idea of "change" more than "abandon", which is probably why I did not leave Los Angeles after all those years of head-spinning. Rather than leave the old blog, I decided to include it in my process as I move into the future. So this is how the new format/theme was born. My intention is to continue writing essays, and to open up the topic list to anything that provokes my attention. Just like the old blog, this incarnation will not be overtly about my personal life--not that my personal life is not interesting--but because I am not so interested in writing about it. I would rather write about what I think instead of what I do. I hope you find it interesting as well. So many blogs read like diaries--albeit well written diaries. I even have friends who have published well regarded memoirs. But perhaps I am a bit more private. A judgement on my thoughts is an invitation to a discussion, while a judgement on my actions feels like nothing more than a judgement.

I have been thinking about a lot of things. The world is not the same as it was when I was growing into adulthood around 35 years ago. Well, it is, and it isn't. The human condition is similar (for better or worse), but the environments and cultures that contain that condition are very different. I often reflect back to those early years of my development and try to remember if I ever thought much about what the future would be like. From what I can remember, I did think about it, but not very subjectively. I thought about it from a meta-perspective: flying cars and food pills and living in space and such. I thought about it more like a Star Trek movie, when I should have been thinking about it like a Star Wars movie--less sci-fi and more of the same ol' humans with fancier toys.


I guess that deep down I thought that the quality of life would remain pretty much the same, while the trappings evolved.

Little did I know.

By my observation, we are the same ol' humans with fancier toys, but we are also not the same ol'. People seem to be changing, don't they? I never could have imagined that real time face-to-face interaction and dialogue would become overruled by our constant attention to hand held computers.
I never could have imagined that something with the unbelievable potential to connect us (the Internet) would then become a breeding ground for consequence-free opinions and commenting. I never could have imagined that I would go through entire days where not one person meets my gaze in the world, or feel that nobody is even aware that I have passed them in the street. I never could have imagined.


But then I never could have imagined that I could stay abreast of the daily lives of friends and family who live miles away. I never could have imagined that online dating profiles would finally break the "fourth wall" for me when it comes to meeting men. I never could have imagined that I would get to the day where I never had to set foot inside a mall ever again in order to shop. I never could have imagined that my writing might one day reach readers unknown to me across the planet, all without a publishing contract. All this, and more, I never could have imagined.

Is it getting worse? Is it getting better? My answer would have to be "yes", and "yes". But I suspect that this has been the case for all of history--some things get worse, some things get better. As an existentialist, I may be betraying myself with these qualifiers unless I specify that they are mine. I do concede that one person's "worse" is another person's "better". But my labels are not assigned in a vacuum--I am a well-seasoned enough observer to be able to gauge the effects of all these things on others besides myself.

It strikes me that all this nonsense we all do these days seems to present a very long route to get to such basic destinations. Referring back to Star Wars, it seems that Luke Skywalker went all over the galaxy and back just to get to the understanding that all he really wanted was a Father.
Basic stuff here, folks. Like the Beatles say, "All You Need Is Love", brup-ba-da-da-da , but boy do we all have a fondness for taking the road less traveled on the way home! Perhaps that is why, as I grow older, I simplify more. I find that I don't need to chase so many things because there is not much that I don't have, realistically speaking. Granted, all of this cagey-ness surrounding my outlook on life applies itself rather mischievously when I am writing my online dating profiles, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

I suppose that when it comes right down to it, I am of the age where I get to start complaining about how the "kids" are ruining the neighborhood and how it was so much better in the old days. And while they are, and it was, I am not quite ready to settle into the porch rocking chair just yet. In a sense, I am still right out there with them, ruining the neighborhood for those with closed minds and open entitlement in life, those who refuse to think for themselves and then condemn others with borrowed judgments, those who act out and speak with hatred and then refuse to take responsibility for the results of their words and actions. For any of the aforementioned, I am the one they don't want moving into the neighborhood.

But the upshot of all this is that I intend to work in-house when it comes to being an agent for change. There is a fantastic Buddhist principle centered around the idea that we can never know the reason that someone is in the middle of a particular process, and that our judgment of the same invites separation, ego, and arrogance, and most importantly, unease.
This is not to say that we cannot work for change in the world, or act against those who cause harm, but the motivation for these actions needs to spring from a vision we have for a better self, not a better other. That is a tough one even for me, folks, because I have been surrounded for most of my life by others pointing their fingers at me. Sometimes it is fun to point back--for a minute. But it gets easier. Compassion is so much easier on the body than hate, and the results are so much more rewarding.

And so it begins, my fresh start. My first task should already be evident.

I have started using capitalization when I write. Let the effect on the world begin.

16 comments:

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    1. Happily going for it, Anne Marie! You inspire me with your "go for it-ness"!

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    2. good; the only thing that can stop you is Y-O-U!

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  2. I just love your posts.
    The human psyche and our collective unconscious evolves painfully slow; it takes a long time to transform a culture. Alas, our technology is progressing faster than our psyches. We are the same (more or less) but with more gadgets. Ignorance and Want travel faster than wisdom. Talk about growing pains.
    I love the archetypal image of metamorphosis and transformation; I will you well in this new incarnation. And I am honored to be allowed to travel with you on your Journey, wherever it may go.

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    1. Once again, Michael, you say that nicest things. I like how you compare the speeds of technology vs. psyche. I think you are spot on. Hopefully there will be some catching up of the psyche in the future. I am so glad you are joining me on my new journey.

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    2. aw shucks; think of me as The Companion, another archetypal image in one's Self Journey.

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  3. Good luck Tony with your blog restart. In reference to whether the Internet is a good way to expand our circle of friends, I find it so. If it were no for the Internet I would not have met my soulmate. Case closed. Again, good luck with your restart Tony. I look forward to reading your future posts.

    Ron

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    1. Thank you, Ron! You know what, I love the internet, and like you, my social circle has expanded greatly as a result, and I cherish that. I am still working on the soulmate part! Glad to have you along, my friend.

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  4. I strongly identify with many of the things you write, and I always appreciate your insight, so I'll certainly look forward to reading more of your thoughts in your rejuvenated blog.

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    1. You know, Jon, that I intend to lure you back out to California someday so you can remake your history here! I will still be writing about this city, of course, but like you, I am giving myself more permission to ramble. We will see what happens!

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  5. I've been at the "those rotten kids" age for the past two years -- at least that's how it seems. It's one of those gradual changes that I didn't notice until I heard my Dad say the exact same thing (and he's 80).

    I catch myself now, but will not correct it. It's a part of growing older and experiencing life. And genetics. :)

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    1. We gotta admit it, we ARE at that age, Greg, but it is not a bad thing. I would NOT want to be young in these times, truly. I like the era I grew up in. I just wish the kids would listen once in a while--they could really benefit from our experience.

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  6. A fresh start is always a good thing. Like the new look. Happy trails to you.

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  7. Tony, how are you doing? I know the answer....'very well'!!
    I like your fresh new look and it only makes sense to begin the next chapter of your life , as you have left behind that time of indecision and uncertainty as to where to live and start over.
    Compassion vs hate......does make life a lot more quiet.
    Always a pleasure to read your stimulating perspective on life.

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    1. Doing well, Jim!! Thank you for checking in...looks like you are having a mild winter up there so far!

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