I came across a blog of an old friend's tonight that I really enjoyed. I didn't know, but I guess she has become a photographer and this blog contained many of her lovely photos. A bulk of recent posts held photos from her wonderful travels across Europe, especially France and the many culinary experiences held there. Now there are a few things that have a hold on my heart; France, food and photography. I spent several minutes pouring over the photos, oohing and awing and feeling my heart speed up and skip a beat as I felt the sudden urge, sudden need, to immediately get on a plane and go to France.
I love to travel. Exploring new places and discovering the idiosyncrasies that make up every different corner of the earth is a pleasure I seldom know how to describe. I love wandering, getting lost in a new and beautiful place steeped in history and a culture not my own.
What really interests me in life, fascinates me and often inspires and motivates me is people and how they feel, what they do and more importantly why they do what they do. And so literature (especially) and history are of great interest to me. Some are fascinated by how the world works; laws of nature and origins of the universe. I, unfortunately, or maybe not, am not. Instead I am fascinated by how people react to the world around them; nature and men, civilization and men, and also, men and men (or women).
It might seem egocentric, but I am truly fascinated by what we can create. Buildings, art, music, literature and writing, and trying to understand what motivates people to create and to create certain things.
I guess in a way this is sort of philosophizing and some may say in the end, what's the point? What is the point in trying to "find meaning" in life or our world, because what does it mean anyway? In contrast science seems to have a real "purpose." Study our world and beyond, try to understand how it works and how it came into being and find answers to the every day questions and hopefully, the infinite questions that plague a scientific frontier.
But shouldn't it come down to what motivates or moves you? Now, survival in almost any case doesn't depend on musings on the meaning of life, the creation of art and music. It of course depends on what we can learn to extend the longevity of our lives, ward of disease, grow food efficiently etc. I, however, would hate to imagine a world without the luxury, freedom and motivation to create and "muse."
Isn't that what makes humanity different? Instead of simple survival, we have the intellect and the luxury to seek to go beyond survival and hopefully flourish and enjoy.
Another thing about the blog I loved (besides France) was the photography itself. I've always loved photography but have never been great at it or given it a real shot. I love most outlets for artistic creativity, and photography is no exception. Looking at these photos made me think of a quote I think I think of all too often:
"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have, much like probably everyone else in this world, the desire to create. And of course we would like to create something "genius". Far too often I find that I feel myself failing to create anything of substance, and instead I see the creations of others and I become frustrated, and I admit, a little jealous. When I can truly appreciate and feel the creativity, emotion and genius in some work, I feel simultaneously so close to it, so understanding, so sharing of the ideas, and also far away from it and any wonderful creation I've seen because I lacked the ability to create it myself. I feel in awe and a failure at the same time. And sometimes, like the quote says, I feel I too had those thoughts but simply failed to express them in an effective beautiful way.
Looking at this blog made me think all of this and two other things.
How can I create in my life the ability to travel even more than I do (because I do have many opportunities to travel)?
And how do I create a life with both travel opportunities, lots of flexibility to go where I please and that offers a creative outlet as well?
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love how quick to forgive and optimistic my smiling students are. I love being able to teach them things they don't know and watch them delight in learning.
But I find it so confining at times. This may sound ridiculous, but I have a hard time having to be in the exact same place at the same time every day. I want freedom to wander and still be productive. Its the waking up early and driving back and forth and sometimes, dare I say, having to say the same thing to a little face 5 or 6 times before I get a response or an action that wears me out.
Now maybe what I'm thinking seems impossible. We would all love to just travel and "be creative" all the time in life. I'm not really sure.
And its not like I'm unhappy. I'm extremely satisfied and happy. But sometimes you see things that make you really think about what you are passionate about and what your ideal way to spend your time is,
priorities, per say. Mine are family and friends, traveling, making time for peace and creating (whether that be writing, photography etc). I'm not entirely sure where that leaves me..
So tonight I will dream of France and travels. Of creating a work of, if not genius, then of some substance. And I will take joy in the life I have and feel grateful for a loving husband and family and friends, for smiling little faces and freedoms and means to do a lot of what I want.
I know that's a lot to be said, and I really am not ungrateful.
I just like to "muse" and dream sometimes.
(photo taken by yours truly)