First, let me say thank you to Oh, who gave me the “Inspiration ” blog award on Monday. . I’m so very flattered, and I’d like to pass the award along to seven of you, as directed . . . but to be honest, I have been a very poor blog community member of late and haven’t been keeping up with my blog reading as I should. So instead of nominating seven folks, I will nominate all of you who keep reading blogs, even when you’re swamped. You are my inspiration.
Yesterday, I had a glorious day of Starbucks (I really am not a Starbucks supporter, but in these parts, if you want to sit and read all day, it’s really your only option) yesterday. I sat there for over four hours (between a doctor’s appointment and a sub-construction party for the Morocco trip) and I read . . . wonderful, really wonderful. I almost finished Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I have read it before, I think, but yesterday – well . . .
So this story of Chris McCandless really pricks something in me. When I told my doctor about it yesterday, he said it really inspired him, too, but then he said he thought it was a male thing because his wife thought McCandless was a spoiled brat. I’m not sure the book is appealing to men because of their gender, per se, but perhaps more to men because we socialize men to think they can, and should, take more risks than we say women should take. But I am a woman who wants to take risks, who wants to live passionately, and so I find the book stirs all that feeling up in me.
I was pondering my doc’s wife’s reaction, too – why would anybody think this kid was selfish and spoiled? He gives up everything he owns and does this tramping thing with out any help. How is that more spoiled than the kid who drives his parents Land Rover and is helicoptered in and out of college breaks (true story of someone I once knew). I can see how Chris made choices that hurt his parents and sister deeply; I do see that and understand how that is selfish. Yet, and it took me a while to puzzle through this yesterday, he did not choose to have those people love him; our families are gifts that we are given without asking for them. Unlike parents, who often choose to bring other people into the world, children do not get a choice in the matter. So here, Chris, while selfish, seems to have done a good thing, a strong thing, to step out and live his passion. He had not asked for the responsibility of a family, and while he could have been more compassionate about how he communicated with them on his travels, it seems to me that he owed them nothing beyond respect and appreciation (and maybe his dad had given that up with the choices earlier in Chris’s life?) Perhaps, though, since I am a parent, I am not comprehending the depth of this choice fully.
What I do know is that there is something powerful about a young man living out, taking risks, being alone . . . I’m not sure what that power is, but it’s there, and it’s strong . . . very strong.
What do you guys think about McCandless and the people like him who walk out “into the wild” of life and do it? Who inspires you in this way? Who makes you furious in this way?