I have lived different lives and like you, I have come to new understandings. I have grown. I have circled back. I have come to conclusions and reached new levels of awareness. I have come to the understanding that there are times when I had everything I needed, right there, in front of my face. Yet, I never knew it was me (or that it could be me) who could change or improve or be better than my expectations.
In some cases, we might call this maturity. In other cases, we might see this as lessons learned. Or, perhaps this is just life.
Maybe we think too deeply. We pick apart and overthink and no one wants the complications; yet, here we are on Project Earth. We complicate simple facts. We argue, we battle and we mix our opinions between facts and fiction.
I think today (of all days) is a good day to hit the reset button. The sun is out and the moment is quiet. No one is on the road. At least not yet.
It is Sunday and before the church-goers and those in search of being absolved or who look to render themselves as humble before God and before the events get underway, I am here and in the moment.
I am fine to be away from everything.
I am fine to let my stressors rest. I’m good to shift myself into this moment of awareness. I am fine to have my anxieties be quiet for a while and fine to distance myself and be happily uninvolved or unattached.
My aim for the moment is to be removed from the local politics and emotional terrorism between us. I have no need or use for the terms, divide and conquer.
Instead, I want to think about the warmth of an evening and fireflies. I want to think of a warm sunset and the outstanding little place which I’ve dreamed about for a long, long time. I want to think about an orchestra in the sky as the colors of sunset adhere to the clouds during the moments at dusk.
I want to think about the ease of letting go and relinquishing control (or the need for it) but more, I want to think of a time and place where Mother Earth is kinder. There is nothing but the symphony of crickets chirping and children laughing after a long day of nothing else to do.
Could you imagine?
I often wonder about the voice of our youth as opposed to the youth of today.
What is so different?
Aside from the time, or aside from the fashions, the music, or aside from our government, the laws or the way we comb our hair, what is so different?
Aside from our technology or rotary phones which then became push button, which will eventually become equally as obsolete as the technology before, what is so different?
Aside from the details of our classroom experience, what is the difference between the voices of our youth when compared with the youth of today?
I suppose our rebellions are different. Then again, our communication is different. Then again, nobody really talks anymore. They text now. They email. At least, this is what some of the kids tell me.
I remember sitting at a carnival where they talked about the future and how people will be talking on video phones. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a trip!”
And here we are. All of us are somehow linked (or slaved) to a technical thing in one form or another. It’s not a choice. At least, not really. We have to adjust to the times, right?
We have to update our thinking and update our understanding. We have to update our technology, restart and reboot to new versions, each and every day. This is the world we live in.
Our school systems have updated. They’ve updated the way they teach. At least, I’d like to hope so. But as different as we were, are we really so different at our core?
Is the need to be liked or wanted or included and regarded all but forgotten?
Perhaps this has changed, but our core is still core.
Bullying is different.
I can say that cyberbullying was not on the charts for us. In which case, there are different stressors and different worries for kids today. I agree.
A rumor can leak out and be worldwide in the matter of a second – or maybe even a millisecond. All it takes is a click of a button. Hit send and it’s out there.
A controversy, a scandal, a picture or a note can be viral in an instant.
But why? Why do we do this to each other? Or, if not us, why does anyone do this to a person; to kill their spirit, to wash them away or cancel them – why?
It used to be if you didn’t see it then perhaps it was easier to deny what happened. For example, I was bullied in the hallway. But not everyone saw. However, time pulled a spin and the rumor factories and gossip mills did their trick. I can say this for sure. But, at least the incident was limited. Eventually, the gossips found other fat to chew on. Sometimes, I found it was me again – chewed on or chewed-up and spit out or regurgitated.
I was bullied on a field trip to the Seaport – and this was bad enough. I was bullied by a girl who was unrelenting. She was torturing me for the entire day, which leaked into weeks of name calling.
I can say that this was tortuous enough; however, imagine what this would have been like if this was on video. Next thing, the entire world would be able to watch the shameful expression on my face (so everyone could laugh).
Still, was I any different? Are we any different? Aren’t we still people?
Don’t we still have a core, a heart or emotion?
I can say there was less of a focus on gender. I can say that identity has always been a sensitive subject. However, our focus was elsewhere at the time.
We all had our little closeted secrets. We all had unnamed ideas and sources with dilemmas that tasked us with different anxieties. No one is excluded from stress.
We may differ. We may not agree. We may not relate. However, whether we agree or relate or even if we are polar opposites, this is life. The one thing that life makes sure of is no one gets away unscathed. No one gets out alive.
I can say that sexuality was never discussed in any of the classes that I was in, which is not to say that personal challenges around our sexuality weren’t a challenge at the time.
I can say that sexuality is handled much differently now. No judgment intended. This is not about good or bad, right or wrong. Instead, this is about the voice of our youth as opposed or in comparison to the youth of today.
I wonder. No wait, I urge you.
Stop for a second.
Put down the judgment.
At any age and in any form of life you choose – or without the notion of identity or identity politics, I wonder if there could be a moment where we sat together. I wonder if there could be a time and together we enjoyed a sunset with a cold glass of lemonade or iced tea.
Or better yet, you can choose your choice of beverage and I would choose mine – the point is not the beverage itself, which is only a symbol.
If we think about it, all of this is just a symbol. This is about an idea to broker a moment of peace, which if we agreed, we could keep this ongoing.
I have this idea of abating our differences. Rather than focusing on our separation, I’d like to spend an afternoon without the challenges of technology. I’d like to build a moment between us where we can focus on ourselves as people.
I’d like to show you a vision of mine. I’d like to take away the stressors and the complications and rather than discuss something, like say the current state of affairs, I would like to spend an afternoon where all of this could be put to the side. We can laugh. We can talk or not. We can watch the sky or listen to the wind. We can let go of all the nonsense.
I have this view in mind. The air is perfect. It’s not too hot but warm enough to remove the insult of discomfort. The sun is on its way down behind the view of surrounding mountains. To us, it would be as if we were in the middle of a bowl, carved out like a cup in the mountains by Mother Earth. We are in the center of a huge plot of farmland. There’s a red barn about 200 yards from us. There’s a small pond which is where we find ourselves. There are fireflies moving in circular patterns, glowing their tail lights to attract one another. And then there’s us.
There is no stress. There’s no need to defend oneself. There’s no animosity or judgment. There’s just the “end of a day” moment where the sun changes the color of the sky and the horizon dances with ribbons of hue that run the spectrum between purple to orange.
This is a moment intended to be cherished. No wars. No resentments. No fear or pain. Just us. Just for the moment. Just love. And just care. Nothing else.
We can teach this. We can show each other that there is such a thing as a “Safe place” and we can learn to live together. (If we choose to.)
I am older now and there are times when I think that perhaps I am younger than ever before. I have a youthful hope to my dreams; yet, I admit to my moments of skepticism and realism. I try hard to not give into cynicism and pessimism but time can be crucial and so can people.
There is a great big world out there which is unattached and independent of our tiny computer screens. There are things which we overlook, like the sunset or the sunrise or the moment when we have a true smile – and nothing’s wrong. It’s okay to be youthful. It’s okay to laugh, regardless of our age and we can have fun without the worries of insecurity or what comes next.
I see kids. I see them and I hope for them. I hope they enjoy their youth because youth is such a short time. I don’t want them to waste it. At least, not like I did.
I don’t want to see them trying so hard to find themselves that they miss who they really are.
There is this place in my heart which someday I hope to build.
This is my farm. This is my sanctuary. This is my safe haven which is open to all who are burdened or heavily ladened. Give me your depression. Give me your anxiety. Give me your hard-pressed moments and the ideas of suicidal ideation.
This is my place away from all places and this place is where one can find peace away from the differences of our society. This is where kids can be kids; but more, this is where I can be me and you can be you – so that we never grow so old that we don’t know how beautiful the world is.
I want to build a place, which is not an escape per se. But more, this farm is a home for those who would otherwise feel emotionally homeless or out of touch or unaccepted.
I would be lying if I told you there would be no rules. There would be rules. There has to be.
But, the rules would be simplified and unified and essentially, our little community would be self-sufficient and self-supporting. We can learn together and teach each other.
This is about synergy and family, not about hierarchy and popularity.
We can have classes on things like how to get the best things at the grocery store. Or, we can have classes on how to be happy.
Or wait, how about a self-taught class on understanding each other. Or, we could learn to live with each other. We can teach each other how to live, how to eat and how to enjoy moments like the sunset. We can teach how to live in the moment and take nothing for granted.
No arguments. No fighting. No texting unless absolutely necessary. No harmful videos. AND NO BULLYING ALLOWED, EVER!
I wish I could help more. Maybe I can. Or, maybe you can too.
I want to build a place where we can live and build our own community. I want to help kids who feel exiled or alienated. Let them grow here and live here so that they can go and build a life outside of here.
I want to put a smile on the face of a child who would otherwise have no reason to smile. I want to give a kid a kite and let them see what happens when it flies. I want to give them something that I never had.
I want them to live.
This place is designed to be anti-suicidal, anti-bullying and as a natural anti-depressant, this place is where people can be who they are, as they are, and learn how to love their life, from now until the hour of their death. (Amen)
Have you ever sat outside when the air is perfect? There’s no insult of bugs or any discomfort. There are lights strung from the trees and dusk has turned to evening. We could sit near the pond at the picnic tables. There are seats for everyone and the sky – well, the sky is our movie screen.
This is our home and as Mother earth, the stars and the moon is my witness, no one will ever be intentionally hurt again.
Note: I have old friends who call me Ponyboy, as in Ponyboy Curtis from the movie The Outsiders. They tell me to “Stay Gold.” and I smile because I know they love me.
I think of Robert Frost and his poem which says, “Nothing gold can stay.”
Maybe he’s right. I’m not trying to change nature’s law. I just want us to enjoy the golden moments when they come. So we can hold them. So we can have them for life or longer. So we can look back and say as bad as some of our days were, at least we have the time to chase fireflies and enjoy each other with all of our hearts.
I don’t know if I’ll ever add up.
I don’t know if I’ll make it.
All I know is that I see a need for a place like this.
I know I can’t do it alone.
I could use some help though . . .
And that’s okay if you can’t help. But, if you can see the sunset from your side of the world, send me a note and share a picture. And me, I’ll return the favor so you can see it from my side of the world too –