Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grow old, but never grow up

I finished reading J-P Sartre's 'Age of reason' yesterday, and it got me thinking about my own stance on age. The characters in the book had a rabid fear of getting old and dealing with all the responsibilities that middle age brings with it. The main character was 35 and deeply miserable and fearful about it. He wanted nothing to do with taking responsibility for things he had done, and he surrounded himself with a bunch of whiners who wanted nothing to do with growing old. Reminds me of the way some hippies reacted when they realized they were approaching 30. Their philosophy was 'never trust anyone over 30', after all. Maybe they read 'Age of reason' and identified with it. Many of the hippies who made it past 30 eventually realized they needed to embrace reason and make the changes reason demanded.
Time and its changes are inevitable, and there's nothing our youth-oriented culture can do about it, no matter how much money it wastes to try and 'turn back the clock'. What is so attractive about being young, anyway? Children want to become adolescents and have new experiences; adolescents want to become adults and have all the freedom that comes from being adults. Then, around 35-40, some adults look back and yearn to be adolescents again and have the freedom and innocence of youth. 'The grass is always greener on the other side' -- where aging is concerned, truer words were never spoken. Or, to put it another way, society is never satisfied with its present position. Small wonder change is constant!
My dad has his own philosophy about age and time. 'If you can't stay young you can at least stay immature.' Actually, he got that from Steve Smith of Red Green fame, but it works for him and it works for me. Once I got past 20 it was smooth sailing, and I don't want to go back to my adolescence. Childhood might be nice, but it's not going to return in this life time, so I'm not going to pine for it. Besides, I go into a nostalgic haze every time I'm driving through my old neighbourhood or listening to pretty much anything from the 1980's or 1990's. 40 is just 10 years away for me, but I have no intention of dwelling on this fact. 30's pretty good, and things can only get better from here on in.
Okay. That's about all. BYE.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Othello, insecure fellow

I'm trying to catch up on my Shakespeare, and I just finished reading 'Othello'. I'm not sure what I want to focus on first, but I think Othello's insecurities are a good place to start. The fact that he fell as hard as he did for Iago's clever lies and lures is a sign that maybe he had doubts himself in Desdemona's faithfulness, and just needed a little push for the trap to close on him. Of course, the handkerchief went a long way to confirming his doubts. The days of the lady keeping some token of her lord's love are far in the past, and I don't know if there's a modern equivalent for this token, but if Othello needed some 'proof' of Desdemona being unfaithful, Iago sure gave it to him. Granted, Iago gets his in the end, but what a violent end in the name of vengeance for a wounded ego!
But back to Othello's insecurities. The man was a great soldier and a leader of men, but he wasn't a great judge of character (believing Iago over his own wife). On the other hand, there's a chance he didn't believe his relationship with Desdemona was very strong or viable. Back in Othello's day (not to mention the 1950's), interracial relationships were very controversial, and anyone who loved for the sake of love, with no matter who it was, had a uphill climb in the face of a cruel and ignorant society. I am just assuming here that Desdemona was white (if I'm wrong, so be it), which would make her and Othello's relationship very rough going. Shakespeare's play is riddled with racial slander when Iago speaks of Othello to others (especially to Desdemona's father), which leads me to believe that it was an interracial relationship.
Meanwhile, Iago's cunning plan worked like a charm, up until the end, when he was punished for putting the murder in Othello's heart, which resulted in Desdemona's death and Othello's suicide. So, that's what I've been reading for the past couple of days. Now I've got 'Antony and Cleopatra' warming up. More thoughts on the horizon? Of course. Now I'll close and think about my own rampant insecurities. BYE.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What -- Me worry?

Definitely! I came face-to-face with a ton of worry-induced stress a few nights ago, and I don't know what my next steps should be regarding my frustrating psyche. I'm a definite worrywart, but if this worrying interferes with my life, I really need to make some changes. Hard to change ingrained thought patterns, however. I think there will be many more diary entries relating to this topic in the days and weeks to come. I've also come to the conclusion that learning the cause of all my worries isn't as important as figuring out how to deal with the effect. It could all be part of being 30. Maybe I need to make numerous changes in my life now that I've reached this ripe old age. This isn't a mid-life crisis deal, but it probably comes close. First off, I need to focus on all this stress and worry and change things there.
Elsewhere in the world, I'm reading the works of Umberto Eco. He's hilarious and thought-provoking. I recently finished his 'Misreadings' and am starting on 'Apocalypse postponed' this evening. O to meet this incredible man! I guess I'd have to go to Italy just for the chance, and let's be honest; I haven't the money or the time to make such a trip. And even if I did have both the dough or the time, Italy is chock-full of sights to see that I'd run out of time to meet with Mr. Eco. Still, it's a nice dream. After I've finished reading 'Apocalypse postponed' I'll be getting back into Shakepeare. I am so behind with the Shakespeare stuff.
It's Heritage Fair time at my school, and the Library is closed for the next couple of days. I spent my time adding to the list of books I plan to order for next year. In one of the preview boxes I received a few days ago, I came across a 'choose-your-own-adventure'-style series done a la graphic novel. The best of both worlds! Perfect for struggling readers! I loved the 'Choose-your-own-adventures' series when I was younger. Anyway, that's how life has been for me. Worries, readings, and orders. BYE.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Freaking out in Fargo

I spent half of my Spring Break vacation in Fargo driving around and shopping. I did my share of driving, and I guess driving around an unfamilar city caused me a lot of stress. My mom, sister, and I returned home yesterday and I'm still trying to deal with the residual stress. I worry needlessly about many things, and the thought that I might die of something stress-related (because of my worries) stresses me out even more. It's a no-win situation, and one I'm trying to examine and learn the root cause of. There must be some reason for me to worry like this, and until I can afford (money/time) the services of a respected outsider (analyst, etc...) I only have the comfort of the written word (my own and the examples of others) to help me find my way.
Meanwhile, Fargo was most enjoyable (when I wasn't stressed out about being stressed out). I hadn't been in the U.S. for several years, and cross-border shopping was certainly welcome. Although the Canadian dollar is approaching parity (again), things are still cheaper in the States. Still, with the worldwide recession, there were fewer Canadians in Grand Forks and Fargo doing their shopping. This absence was felt by the staff in the hotel's restaurant. This time, instead of taking a simple room, we rented a suite for three nights, and that increased space made all the difference. Next time I go to the States, I think I'll choose a suite again (who wants to go alone?) for my group. The only drawback with this hotel was the poor quality of toilet paper, but that's really no big deal.
Elsewhere in my little world, I have 200 pages left until I have finished reading that massive Intro. to Philosophy book. Ch. 33 and William James. Finally I've reached the 20th Century with these philosophers. I'm pretty pleased that I haven't given up on this book yet, and now, with only 200 pages left, I don't have much of a reason to stop now. Definitely time to make one last push and reach the last paragraphs of John Rawls. I also have the immortal John Shelby Spong to look forward to. Fantastic writer. Okay. That's about all I have for the time being. BYE.