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Travel Post #2: Time To Move On

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Today it really struck me how close Peru is looming. Not in space, but in time. I know that the next nine days will pass very quickly. I don’t know if and when I will return to Austin, so I feel a particularly strong prickling of tears in my eyes over the course of any given day, knowing that the places and people I’m saying goodbye to may be more than just one year and several thousand miles away. The thing about life, though, is that you have to live your own. I’m lucky to be surrounded by people that understand that. There are many people that will miss me, and I’ll miss them. I’m sure there are some that don’t want me to go, but this is me living my path and being true to myself, and that’s something we’re all allowed and entitled to do. I hope that, as a teacher, I can inspire and encourage my future students in their dreams and endeavors in the same way that my beloved people have encouraged me.

Today at work, some co-workers did an “interpretive dance” in my final company meeting. This was absolutely a silly, fun thing that they did for my benefit, acting on an inside joke that pre-dates both of them at this company, but which everyone enjoys. We were all laughing and enjoying their dance, complete with rainbow ribbons and music. But I was also moved by the display. They planned it for me! And I realized once again the people I leave behind are each a priceless treasure.

Our beautiful rainbow-ribbon dancers :)
Our beautiful rainbow-ribbon dancers :)

 

The song they chose for the dance was “Time To Move On” by Tom Petty. One of the dancing pair, Cheryl, shared the lyrics with me after the meeting was over, and I think they are fitting. She also gave me a little French press to bring with me, so I can enjoy my coffee. It’s already wrapped tightly in bubble wrap and paper, and will be making the journey with me.

Throughout this process I have been consumed by the desire to just go. Get out of here. Start my new life. But I am grateful for the last several weeks, during which I’ve had the opportunity to prepare for my physical needs, and to truly take time and appreciate all of the things I have right here at home. From the family  who cries with mingled joy and sadness as I pursue my dreams, to the co-workers who decorate my cube for my birthday and give me a proper rainbow-y send-off, to all in Texas and beyond who have been with me through my ups and downs, the people in my life make my life what it is, and I am truly grateful for all of you.

12.9–Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

12.9–Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I don’t even know where to start with this book. At times it’s awesome and inspiring. Other times it’s a major headache that I found extremely difficult to pick up and read.  From the reviews I’ve read about it, other people have had the same issues with it.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he’s as puffed up and arrogant, as do other reviewers.  He’s a very smart man who has been through a lot of fascinating and terrible things.  Sadly, that is, for me, a major part of the appeal of the book, though it’s not a novel and not necessarily narrative either.  The philosophical part of the book made me go cross-eyed with confusion. I read, mostly, for his periodical revelations about the life he led before–and the man that inspired his writing of the book.

My knowledge of motorcycles is infinitesimal.  A working knowledge of them is not necessary to the reading of the book.  Though it’s in the title and he uses motorcycle maintenance as a metaphor for his philosophies, the technical side of what he’s discussing is the least challenging of everything the reader ploughs through.

A lot of reviewers will say that Pirsig is arrogant, attempting to sway people to his own philosophy and attempting them to draw them away from traditional rational thought.  What I felt from the text is more that Pirsig is trying to figure his own self out, and this book is the story of his philosophical journey.  He shares with the world his own struggles and demons, all the while presenting a new way of thinking.  Others felt like he was trying to force his ideas on the reader.  He does seem rather adamant about what he’s writing about, and it can be quite impressive at times.  Sadly, I don’t have an extensive enough knowledge of Western philosophy to have a platform for understanding his attempt to rewrite it.  I didn’t find my life or my philosophy very much changed at the end of the book. At times he seemed almost fanatical, and it was a bit of a turn-off to his ideas.

My opinion on the book, which is the point of this blog, is incredible confused.  I can’t wrap my head around the ideas found within the text.  I enjoyed to narrative part of the book, but the philosophy is entirely too thick for my understanding. Therefore, though I know how important some people consider this book be, I can’t recommend it because it’s not the kind of book one reads for a pleasurable experience (unless you’re into philosophy; if that’s the case, read your little heart out). I feel that it’s a book that has to be read at least twice to even partially understand and absorb what’s going on, but I don’t have to energy or the will to read it a second time.