Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Garden State

(Life back at Home)

Oh how I missed the surf in southern California

It’s been a while since I’ve journal. I think the last time I was in Cannakale, Turkey, the modern city of ancient Troy where I finished reading Homer’s Iliad while sitting before the walls of the city that had been burned down shortly after Homer’s story. I meant to write about the concluding days of my time in Turkey, about the feeling I had when returning to Greece staying with Marina and Marino (reminding me of the feeling of home). I meant to write about London and the architect who brought to life my former aspiration to become an architect that I had in high school, about the guy I met on the plane home and how I was able to give back to him the hospitality that I had received all summer, and about life back in southern California after three months on the road. But I never got around to it because it was those moments that held all of my attention captive.

It is now early September, and tomorrow I will finish the first week of my new school and work in San Diego and I am excited for the opportunities I have had already to apply to life at home the lessons I learned while abroad.

Life can never work against you when standing still. When you have no expectations you can’t be disappointed. I don’t mean that plans aren’t good, or goals aren’t of value, but when we become attached to the goals and plans of life that we perceive, the present moment becomes lost and can never again be recovered – time moves only forward.

A special tour of my new place...
Days after coming home from traveling, I had registered into a full-time load of classes and secured a job working in coffee at a new shop in San Diego called Kaffee Meister. However, what ended up falling through was my plans for the living situation. A friend I had hoped to stay with decided it wasn’t a good time to move in after all. After a whole summer of freedom from feelings of anxiety and worry, for a few moments these feelings started to re-appear in my mind. Between many phone calls to try and find a place to stay I discovered that my friend Zack, who had moved to San Diego just a week before me, had been living out of his truck and with a cover over the bed, he was actually enjoying the simplicity as well as saving a lot of money. And then I remembered my trip, and the philosophy that seemed to have found me during that time, and decided to detached from the plan I had made for life in San Diego and to join Zack and continue being flexible like I had been all summer. I would trade cars with my little sister, and live in her Four Runner, and resort to bringing only the essentials of my possessions that would be necessary for the first weeks of life in SD. I strapped a surfboard to the ceiling so that I could sleep with my gear underneath. I had a backpack for school, a milk crate filled with clothes, a skateboard and climbing gear to keep me busy when there was no surf.

I’m going on the sixth night sleeping in my car, and while it is not the best sleep in the world, early mornings are assured and keep my productive. With very little possessions around me it is not easy to distract myself, but I have a lot of time to read and write philosophy. I hang out in cafés, at friend’s houses, sometimes they are there and sometimes they’re not. It is nice not being restricted to one location every night. If I want to surf in the early morning before class, the night before I can park my car and sleep near the beach wake up and be in the water within 10 minutes. If I have work really early at the café, I can just sleep outside and wake up minutes before my shift.

balance board....of my own creation
At school I really enjoy all of my classes, especially my class in Existentialism, where I am reading Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, and Marcel, who’s writings all encourage my lifestyle as it is right now. It is not because of need that I am living out of my car on the street, nor is it a result of poverty or a consequence of careless living. Rather, I choose to live this way (for the time being) for experiences sake. The early Existentialist writers would say that value is not a term to associate with material possessions but one that can only describe the personal experience that is subjective to each individual. The higher the value of an experience, the more purely individual a choice was made. They would say that values are subjective in this sense. For example, take a charitable act, is it valued a good thing in an objective way, despite the heart and attitude of the person committing charity? Or is it valued specifically because of the heart that is behind the act? I have grown convinced of the latter.
A must see!!!

Anyway, this is what I am learning in school and daily practice. But before I do away with that subject, I should explain why I titled this entry Garden State. Garden State is a film, one that a saw a few nights ago for the first time with some friends, about a guy who learns the value of momentary experiences. He stops taking the pills he had been on since childhood, which dampened his emotional reactions to life, and he does things that are not normally part of his known routine. He meets a girl, who shows him the value of his unique individuality and saves him from losing himself in the monotonous acts of life. I loved the movie, and in light of my new existential curiosity, I decided to make it the theme of my first few months in San Diego. It is the heart of the individual that is truly present in the experience of now that begins to move forward beyond itself.

1 comment:

  1. Miah, I really love your mind. haha, but really, thanks for sharing your thoughts on here. I have been thinking about a lot about what your whole last paragraph was about and I am really encouraged that I have friends that view things the same way. im glad your having fun and i hope to see you sometime this year!
    - Heather Brooks