Fahrenheit 451 parallels our current state of affairs

“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“You’re a hopeless romantic,” said Faber. “It would be funny if it were not serious. It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the ‘parlor families’ today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios, and televisors, but are not. No,no it’s not books at all you’re looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type or receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. Of course you couldn’t know this, of course you still can’t understand what I mean when i say all this. You are intuitively right, that’s what counts.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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I’ve been reading Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, here, in Greece. It is a time travel parallel to our current political climate and modern society.  It’s a wake up call and a breath of fresh air, despite its depressingly uncanny resemblance to our present times.

I urge you to read or re-discover Bradbury’s masterpiece. 

Fahrenheit 451 was written in 1953! The novel is 65 years old, and is still extremely relatable on a personal context and relevant on a global scale.

Thank you Ray for having left this symbolic piece of poetry behind. The world needs to hear it now, more than ever.

Starting from scratch

Moving to Greece was a big deal.

It meant I had to untie the many knots that kept me anchored to my city. It meant leaving people who meant a great deal to me. It meant leaving my comfort zone – my home for the past 19 years. It meant replacing what I knew with what I didn’t. It meant letting go of any expectation, big and small. It meant replacing the speedy highway for the gravel road.

Back home, I held a 9 to 5, helped on a local publication, and, on occasion, picked up some freelance work. I had a bountiful social life and have made some very dear memories with some of the best people.

But the truth is, I was burnt out. Burnt from work, burnt from starting from scratch over again from relationships gone south, burnt from moving from place to place within the constraints of my own city and not really feeling “at home” anywhere I went, burnt from being caught in the burning hands of capitalism.

I was tube-feeding myself with a glorified dose of “busy” – like most millennials.  I had become rigid and disengaged with my environment.

A month before packing up my life, I had no idea where I was headed, if I’d be going straight to another job or back to school. Greece sort of happened –  just like that. It came together so effortlessly, like magic.

While I was road tripping in New Mexico last May, an expat storeowner in Taos told me about Greece. He had lived in Greece for 10 years as a retail buyer, and that stuck with me, subconsciously almost, as I never jumped on the idea right away.  He drew me an impeccable little map to Arroyo Secco on the back of a receipt. He was incredibly helpful and eager to share his knowledge of the area.

“Travel is the best education,” he had said. I’ll never forget his words because I couldn’t have agreed more.

The past three years, I can honestly say I do not remember well. Everything is a little vague, yet, crystal clear at the same time.  Things are only slowly coming back to me now.

There are periods in time that stick out and periods where I feel I had my head down the entire time and watched as life floated by.

Summer of  2016, my cat died, I quit my airline job to go on a campervan adventure around the U.S. and Canada that never happened (see break-up), I worked the Calgary Stampede and cut my finger in half on the very first day, my car window got smashed to pieces, and, I broke up with someone and still believe, to this day, that it was one of the best decisions I have made in life. I know some of these events may seem trivial but sharp objects and glass have often symbolized upcoming change in my life. I’ve taken note of it ever since.

For someone who is extremely indecisive, it was the very first time I stood firm in my needs. What I wanted in life mattered. I had a choice. It was OK to say no to loving someone back just because they loved me. That mindset was no longer an option for me.

I wanted to no longer be in toxic relationship after toxic relationship. I was exhausted of taking care of everybody but myself. I wanted to go live my best life without unhealthy compromises and the feeling that I wasn’t really supported in my dreams and goals by the one person who was supposedly “closest” to me . I needed adventure and I wanted to experience all of it.

If you’re reading this, I don’t care how young or old you are, it is never too late to start again.  We still have time but time is always ticking. I wanted to live now. Not in 20 years, not in one. Now.

And I’m happy that, two years later, I’m finally on the road.

Impermanence

The subject of kids came up.

“You don’t want any?” she had asked.

“Likely not,” I had responded insensitively. Motherhood had never been a priority nor a life requirement for me. The biological desire comes in waves. But, the desire fades quickly when I remind myself of all the adventures I have yet to go on and the unconventional lifestyle I’d like to lead.

Plus, I’m unsure a baby would be the most responsible thing to bring into this world knowing my lack of steady income and my lack of faith in our crumbling tech-driven and nonsense violent and hateful world we live in. I wouldn’t want my kids growing up in a digital world, obsessed with their tablet at age 2, barely lifting their heads to interact or have a sense of interest for the physical existing world around them. Escaping the digital world seems like an impossible concept in this day and age.

Would motherhood be a beautiful thing to experience ? I have no doubt in my heart it would be. Will I experience it one day ? Only time will tell.

She looked away, saddened.

She had said simply, “Kids won’t be for me, unfortunately”.

And in that moment, I let her comment ring with me for a bit but I was too oblivious and distracted to have her elaborate on her response.

This was four years ago. We were colleagues. A new world was beginning for both of us as we were both newly employed airline employees.

She passed from cancer yesterday – a battle she’d been fighting silently for awhile. Little of us knew about it.

I remembered our conversation yesterday and begun to cry.

She knew of her destiny and she was bravely accepting it this entire time. I had no idea.

I didn’t know her outside of work but her passing touched me deeply.

It made me unbelievably sad to know that something I may not want is something that someone might have wanted were they given more time.

Life is precious. Count your blessings while you can, live fully and go after your dreams. Life goes too quickly. And some of us go too soon.

Rest in Peace.

Slowing down with a concussion

It took me getting a second concussion to slow my mind and body entirely again. I. Just. Can’t . Seem. To. Stop. Unless a brain injury or the likes FORCES me to stop. I never rest my brain, ever. I’m always doing , thinking , moving . I’m a freaking machine trapped in a petite woman’s body.

I’ve been laying around the dimly lit house for the past few days and the perspective I’ve gained on everything in my life is remarkable.

It is like therapy without seeing a therapist . It is a road trip to all your most cherished dreams without leaving the darkness of your own room. It is a reality check with no conversations needed with anyone but yourself.

For three days straight , all I did was sleep, eat and sleep . I slept over 40 hours these past few days .

Stepped into the sunshine today for the first time in what felt like weeks and I felt lucky.

I try not to regret anything in life . I’m a clumsy fuck . I should pay attention more to the little things in life . I forget how fragile we can be and how little it takes for us to forget where we are , who we are and where we want to be.

Life is short . Live it the best way you can . Don’t let go of your dreams . Live them , attain them , don’t lose patience and hope . Have a little faith and keep going .

But first, rest that brain.