For a life-changing experience, check out Jon Krakauer's book 'Into the Wild.' The book will undoubtedly be getting more attention at home, since they just came out with a movie by the same title, directed by an apparently obsessed Sean Penn. I have no idea if it's any good, and I can't imagine that it compares to the book (as usual), but nonetheless, the story is amazing, and extremely personal. I can't imagine that Dane hasn't read this book, but if not, tell me, I'll send it to you. I finished it in two days, and you will too.
It's a true story about a kid, our age, who hitchhikes from the upper-class DC suburbs, around the Western US and down as far as Mexico, then ultimately into the Alaskan wilderness where he ends up starving to death. I think by now, unfortunately, the idea of us twenty-somethings going wandering off to 'find ourselves' has become an almost taboo cliche. There is almost no grey area here. Either people are sympathetic and understand, or they don't, and actually have a very negative reaction to these kinds of people. Chris McCandless, who is the kid in this story, is probably the very extreme of this kind of traveler. But if it weren't for his unfortunate death, he'd probably be just another kid. And that's all that he was really. It just so happened that he ended up dead, which has prompted a book and now a major movie about his life.
I don't really know what my point is in all of this, other than to simply say 'read the book.' I guess the philosophy that McCandless talks about is my ideal way of viewing the world, which I think is shared by a lot of my close friends. Dane is probably the closest to living like McCandless, but still doesn't take it to the extreme.
I guess McCandless' viewpoints and his way of life jibe with my take on how life should be lived, or how I want to live my life. I got into a discussion the other night with Mia after we attended a late-night Christmas Eve service, sort of about religion, but more about how to live your life. I've written about this before, but I just simply cannot imagine how or why anyone would want to live their lives solely with the idea of going to Heaven. Actually I think I may have just created a counterargument to what I was going to say. Anyway, my view is that I want to live my life as if heaven doesn't exist, because one thing that i am absolutely certain of, is that I have no clue what's going to happen when I die, so why worry about it? I'd prefer to live as if I already were in heaven, and enjoy the conscious life that I'm aware of now, instead of hoping for something that may not exist. I guess my counter-argument would be that those folks who live their lives as if heaven does exist, are doing exactly what I just said anyway - living a life serving 'God' is what makes them the happiest, and though they might have a different way of saying it, it's essentially the same thing.
I don't know if any of that made sense. And it doesn't matter really. I'm going to live my life how I choose to, and so will everyone else. And if I change anyone's mind about life by what I say, then fine, and if not, that's fine too. I will be interesting to find out what happens when we die though, won't it?