Almost completely settled in Bogotá and with my share apartment sorted out, I finally have a new home for the next five months, a base from which to explore Colombia. Bogotá is a very politically active city and there seems to be revolution in the air, with images of hammers and sickles, Che Guevaras, anarchists symbols, various other political slogans and “la paz de los pueblos” (peace for the people) graffitied on every second wall. Tent cities stand as a permanent protest outside the presidential palace and coffee shops are full of revolutionaries plotting and talking of change.
What an exciting time to be here and all this action has got me thinking about the absurdity of this 9-5 paradigm we have created in the West. We live in a system where we are forced to pay to live, and work to pay. Expected to follow a specific path of how a life should be lived. First you go to school, then to higher education where you pick your career or general direction and you do that specialisation for 40-50 years. Over this time you have gotten married and started a family and you earn enough to set your own children on this path. Once the children are ready to be on their own, you are ready to retire and finally enjoy your life. See any issue with this?
Our quest for comfort and security forces us to gamble with our experience, we invest our being into a mundane existence with hopes of being able to finally ‘live’ when we retire. Assuming we are still fit, able and ALIVE. We waste the years of our lives when we are strongest, not beaten down by the world, young and optimistic in the hopes of having something to fall back on when we do decide to live.
It is tempting though, there is comfort in conformity and routine. We do not have to think very hard and life is easy just accepting things for the way they are. But comfort stunts growth and there are no opportunities in a comfortable existence. The problem is in nature, that which stands still dies but in the environment we have created for ourselves we can stand still and simply exist, safe in the human zoo. But if that which stands still dies, that which moves must live, must be alive. Sitting still we cannot live. There is no life in comfort, only existence. I am not content with existence I want to be alive, I want to move.
I have always loved the question; “when was the last time you did something, that had you done something different your life would have been going in a completely different direction?” When was the last time you moved? I feel as though the decision to go on this journey has drastically changed my life. I can already sense it, my attitude, my perspective and my mind are changing and growing. I feel as though true happiness is possible, but I am not content because I can see that people are not happy. It is selfish to run away, hide and live a simple life with the knowledge that others are still suffering in unhappiness, imprisoned in a paradigm. I do not know how to change the world but I do know that sitting still will not help. We need to move; and it always seems that, “…the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do” (Steve Jobs).
“A tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, will hang a man nevertheless if he is not careful” -Yann Martel (Bogotá, Colombia)