Dearest People of the World,
I hope you are well.
April 20th, 2010 is the day I turn 22 years old. April 20th is a special day for me no matter where I am. It is a special day in the US, too – they call it 4/20 (after their backwards-ass calendar system which goes middle, small, large unlike the rest of the world with their small to large number system) and it is the day the devote to smoking a certain special substance which I will not be partaking in.
In Germany and Austria, it’s not a special day. It’s a day when someone we’d all like to forget, but wisely can’t, was born. That’s right, I share a birthday with Hitler. Not too proud of that one, for reasons that I’m sure you may be aware.
And Muhammed (please don’t fatwa me, again), too is also an April 20th sort of guy. Not too proud of that one either (for reasons you may not be aware of).
I guess two of the most charismatic, paradigm-shifting leaders to have ever existed is something to be proud of. I just wish it was FDR, Cicero or Clement Atlee or someone else in power who caused a lot less death and destruction.
Glancing at Wikipedia this morning, I noticed it is also the date when my ancestor Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament in a glaring move of undemocratic ballsiness. For someone who purported to be a democratic parliamentarian, he did some questionable things. I suppose England just wasn’t ready for complete abandonment of undemocratic authoritarian rule and though ahead of his time in some ideas, he was still a product of that environment and was thus inherently constrained by it.
It is also the date of the Columbine Massacre. Ugh. Bad times, America, bad times. Let’s blame heavy metal for that one. Ignore the guns, militarism, violence, greed and decay evident in the system. It was all heavy metal.
Funny that most of the major events that get remembered are the ones of extreme death and violence. If only we could remember April 2oth as the day when someone spotted some really pleasant flowers, got a new dog, connected emotionally with a pretty girl or had all their dreams come true (except for the ones they didn’t really want to come true). I’m sure many tasteful weddings happened, much joy was had and someone discovered something that changed their lives and the rest of humanity for the better on this day. But that’s not what we’re being reminded of, even though I think we should.
Astrologically, April 20th is interesting because it is on the cusp of Aries and Taurus, depending on who you talk to or which sky you’re looking at. It’s interesting because it’s not. It’s just the same amount of nonsense and bollocks as the rest of astrology.
A Special Day
Anyway, it’s a special day. For me, 21 was one of my best years ever. Almost as good as 17, when things were going so very very good for a while and then got bad towards the end. At 17, we won the provincial rugby championship with the school, I was part of the duo that won the provincial debating championship, I had an awesome girlfriend (until something went horribly wrong) and I was doing well in school. 21 was much better than 18, 19 and 20, when my health just sort of collapsed as a result of some heavy metal toxicities and everything pretty much went down from there. So my hopes for 22 are high – I’m healthy, happy and doing well. Success awaits.
First, some changes. I’ve been growing a beard and living with a pretty scruffy level of facial hair for three months and three years, respectively. That is now done with. I will not attempt anything other than clean shaven for the year. The beard that I’ve been growing on the road is now gone. Good grooming practices are now something of importance to me, when they were not previously.
Second, I’m not going to swear as much. I don’t swear a huge amount anyway, but I do throw around some pretty fucken hard words every now and then. This will change, but let’s not start holding our dicks just yet, for this may take a bit of time before I removing vulgarity completely from my vocabulary.
Third: routine. I’ve learned endless amounts about myself and the importance of discipline and routine on this trip. When I get back, I am going to attempt to become far more organised, regimented and disciplined. No more slack, no more procrastinating. No more sleep-ins, a lot less Reddit. Much more exercise, regular exercise, regular meals, regular sleeping patterns. All in preparation for a marathon in 2011, that’s my goal. I’ll probably have to work next year to get my finances to somewhere acceptable before uni, so I’m going to have work like a demon on keeping myself in the best damn condition possible to avoid relapsing into the illness that plagued me so badly this time last year (note: I didn’t actually have the plague, that’s just a clichéd turn of phrase).
Fourth, to continue on this journey through the wonderment of existence, to embrace the beauty of life, seek out new experiences, to feel the glory in every human, place and thing and to find some meaning in it all. I will never give up my search for advanced ideas and knowledge. I will never abandon my ideals, unattainable or elusive though they may be, for I truly believe that even to step in the right direction, to strive for them, though you may never reach them, is the most worthy of goals. I will proudly fight injustice and unfairness in the world using my knowledge and skills to help with all my ability for the good of as many as possible. I will always attempt to give more back to this world than I have taken from it. I aim for the highest virtue and honour so that I may seek my own contentment in the happiness of others. I will attempt to be the greatest human I know how to be and I will always try to know how to know better.
I am ambitious. Of that, have no doubt. You may doubt the rest of it and I’m going to try to prove myself worthy, but I fell a long way while ill. I’ve picked myself up, but I haven’t started to run yet.
The Grand Plan Finale
Okay, take a look. What does that look like to you? To me, it looks like badassery at its finest. It looks like hardcore finale. That’s because it is. Tomorrow, I start on an epic 1000km trip from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon by bicyle. I’m aiming for about three weeks on the road, camping on beaches and under the trees, living free and clean all bad spirit from my system. I’m going to seize this opportunity to reflect and ponder on the deeper meaning of this trip and exorcise all existential angst that may be remaining before I return to Europe. This will be my first time travelling truly solo on the trip so far. Though I have travelled solo, I have never travelled alone. This is the meditative retreat I’ve been looking for. This will be my 22 days in the wilderness.
See the picture on the right of the header at the top with the road, mist and trees? Well, that’s the phase I’m on now. It’s going to be wet, wild and wonderful. Good times ahead!