At dinner, my uncle said this: "You're living my life." The same uncle who, at that same dinner, told us that he had his dream job and that he loves it, same uncle who said his happiest years were rearing his kids, same uncle who has six cars and a multi-million dollar house.
I've come back from Bhutan. I was not living his life currently; whoever's life it was, it was on pause. I was on sabbatical. My uncle wanted to go run with the bulls in Pamplona. He wanted to drive the Baja 1000. Neither of us were doing anything to re-engage that life over there. It's gathering dust.
Then I did some research. To join the Baja 1000, you have to pay a $2075 fee for cars. One of the entry categories is VW buggy. As of 2 hours ago, you could buy a 1963 Beetle off of ebay for $2551. Other info obtained online says that it would take approx. $3-5000 to make such a buggy pass inspection for the race. My mother's boyfriend knows cars, could teach me how the engine on one of those things works, and how to repair it - and once I learned, I could do these things: on a 1963 Beetle there's no electronics and all that jazz that you can't deal with without a shop and a mechanical degree.
I think we can do this.
My uncle's also offered me a job. The description doesn't matter - it makes me money. Money that I can save up to help me fund the things I want to do. I want to:
Go to Princeton Reunions.
Go to Burning Man.
Complete the Baja 1000.
Learn to fight.
Chess-box on top of Devil's Tower.
Go to the Amazon with Chong to learn to be a shaman.
Farm my grandmother's farm.
Build a house on that farm.
Suburbia, the office, the modern hell is only hell if it is a prison or a goal in itself. I'm just using society as a tool to get the resources I need to do the things I want, to achieve the transcendence I want. I don't want to stop, to end being young anytime before I'm 73 and can be an old codger with a cane, a shotgun, a porch, and a bottle of Jack Daniels, and I can bore the shit out of my grandkids and flirt with the old ladies. I want to bring about my vision, Kinaci's vision, Chong's vision, Pinto's vision, Jack's vision. I want to keep living my uncle's life. He can come along too if he wants.
Now, the caveats: I know if I keep up my endless wandering, it will be a while till I can integrate properly. I know I will never be rich. I know I was not happy in Bhutan. The last time I was happy, I was living with Jilli in an apartment, working a white-collar job, making a thousand bucks a week, and inviting friends over for dinner parties and to watch movies (and various things the internet is not privy to).
The goal of life is not to be happy. Buddhism is wrong because it teaches us to cease attachment because that attachment causes suffering. I want to suffer. I want to be attached to things. Attaching yourself to things, striving, becoming something beyond what you were is what it is to be human. It is ignoble to be happy. It is not natural, not right, it is a giving up. When you ask a child, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" does she say, "I want to be happy!"? When you dream of a perfect life, do you ever consider a bed and an i.v. of demerol? When we point to a life and say, "This was a great man," does anyone ever say, "But was he happy?"? I have never wanted to be happy. My purpose has never been to be happy.
I just want to be better.
It's the same with men, as with horses and dogs
Nothing wants to die.
- Tom Waits, The Fall of Troy