Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Soap Box Surf or Hungry for Life

I watched a movie/documentary the other night called "Surfwise" with my brother. It was about a wild man, Dr. Doc Paskowitz, who all of a sudden packed up and left his job as a successful doctor to tramp around with his wife and family in a RV from surf spot to surf spot. He had some pretty radical philosophies on life and family and health. He eventually had 8 boys and 1 girl, all of them living in a tiny RV. He raised his children without school, they were very poor and struggling meal to meal, but they all surfed everyday and generally ate very healthy by most any nutritionist standards. I very much appreciate his sense of self and knowing what he wanted to get out of life- being around his family all day, everyday, and surfing. In fact I hold knowledge of self as one of the most important characteristics one can have. I do, however, disagree with many things about how he lived his life, but that's okay- its his life and I am a very different person. One thing stood out to me more than anything from this very provocative and thought conjuring flick and that is a quote he made in his book- "Surfing and Health" it went more or less like this- Primitive man had to fight everyday not to be hungry. Modern man has to fight everyday to be hungry.

We do have to fight to be hungry. Hungry about life, our direction, finding fulfillment, health, love, and genuine appreciation for anything. In today's America we have too much food, too many clothes, transportation is easy, communication is easy, hell compared to the rest of the world- money is easy. Why then, is life not easy? I think I could argue that today's modern man is less happy, less content, and less fulfilled than men (people) of the past (short of war and depression).

I sometimes think of my generation as the Green generation. Not green in the context of environmentally sustainable and progressive, but green in the sense that "the grass is always greener on the other side." Why are we always looking at others or to the future wishing that our situation was better than it is. "If I had more money then I could buy a better car and house, and that would make me happy." "If I was happier with my job, then life would be much better for me." "I am having difficulties with my spouse, maybe there is someone else out there who could make me happy." "Once I retire, then I'll have time to be happy." Notice one thing about all of these statements- they all depend on an external influence.

I don't live perfectly and I certainly don't mean to express that I live better than anyone else, remember I am part of the very generation I speak of. I do realize that any possibility of finding lasting (not momentary or fleeting) happiness relies on looking inward not outward. Perhaps changing how we think about life, how we appreciate people in our lives, and being grateful for the things we do have.
Maybe we cannot appreciate these things until they have been taken away from us, but we can try, and that is my intent everyday- to appreciate the art of living. To fight to be hungry.

Time to get off my soap box. I hope you find something to be hungry for today!

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