I just finished Barack Obama’s book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. This book was written in 1995 not long after Mr. Obama became the first African American president and before he even thought about going into politics. As a result, this book is a lot more honest and less self serving than most books written by politicians.
President Obama writes about his life from the time he was born until his first visit to Kenya in the late 80s. OF course, the topics of this book have been covered by the press ad nauseum during his Presidential campaign: his drug use as a teen, his Kenyan father who left his mother when he was young, his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia, and his time in college and as a youth organizer after graduation.
The thing that I discovered reading this book is that President Obama is a very thoughtful man who analyzes (and possibly overanalyzes) everything in his life. He seeks to understand himself and the world around him. He is emotional but seeks to understand his emotions and attempts to not let those emotions affect his decisions.
For me personally, I got a kick out of the section regarding his visit to Kenya. I visited Kenya during the summer of 1994 to help build a school in the Kenyan highlands. His descriptions of Nairobi and the Nairobi markets, the buildings, the tribal infighting, and the different modes of travel remind me of that time.
Well around the time right after watching Joseph Campbell, I came down with something. I was sleeping and sleeping and MORE SLEEPING! Then when I was awake I was exhausted. I was wondering what the hell is wrong with me? I had visions of thyroid conditions, diabetes, cancer . . . I was starting to get concerned. Then I found out that the flu has been going around. I had a flu shot and so I thought that maybe I just got half of it. Or that my immune system is going to pot.
By the time I thought “oh shit I have to go to the doctor now” I started to get better. WHEW
Work is work. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bang my head against a brick wall bad. With that, I can’t complain.
The Little Rock Marathon is in a little over two weeks. I am more than a little nervous about the thing, especially since I haven’t been running lately since I was so freaking tired. So now I’m hoping I haven’t lost enough fitness level to not finish. My only goal is to finish and I am getting kinds of nervous that I won’t do it.
I also realized I haven’t made hotel reservations for this thing.
I’ve been reading Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama.
I also made french toast one day.
Overall, it’s good.
For the past two days, I have been watching Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. This is a fascinating interview of Joseph Campbell, scholar of myths, by Bill Moyer.
Campbell manages to know all the myths that surround the world we live in and their explanation of why we are here. He manages to get to the basic core of them and find the similarities.
He also has developed a life philosophy: Follow your bliss. I have to admit I have heard the “follow your bliss” mantra for quite a while but never knew anything of the man who coined the term and the original meaning of it.
The philosophy is very similar to Shakespeare’s quote of “to thine own’s self be true” It’s simply find the one thing that makes you truly happy and do it, no matter what everybody says about it. It sounds very simple but I have learned since moving back to the hometown of my youth that sometimes it’s easier said than done. I find myself doing things solely for the parental approval or more specifically for the lack of parental nagging. Something about the parental nagging sends me into a tizzy and I find myself doing anything to avoid it even if it makes me completely miserable. Part of it is that my father is quite stubborn and sometimes it’s just less time consuming to suck it up than to listen to his bitching and moaning.
I guess in some ways I’m still trying to find my bliss. I know I liked investigating in a larger city more than lawyering in a small town. I’m not sure if the larger city was due to the fact that no one knew me initially and I could be anyone I wanted. I managed to be me and found compadres. Here there’s expectations and my youthful drama queen self being imposed on me even though I’m not sure how much of that is still here. Oh who am I kidding, more of that is here than I want to admit. But sometimes the people who know you through trying times or see you going through trying times who don’t know all the details see you as someone you are not. I was very private about certain incidents and as a result, seem more of a spazz than I was or am. It’s a “you would cry too if it happened to you” sort of instance.
So yeah. I am in the process of figuring out what I want to do and going for it. What makes me happy and why? For some reason, this question seemed simpler when I was a kid. Maybe I don’t need to know the answer of “why?” Maybe I just need to do something.
For whatever reason my biggest skills seems to be finding people and keeping up with their business. People are always asking “whatever happened to so and so?” and for whatever reason, I know where so and so is and what so and so is doing. I’m not sure what jobs are out there that utilize that skill but whatever it is, I would be brilliant at it.
Lawrence Welk is more modern than I thought. Maybe he’s a NORML member. Oh wait he’s dead.
I do feel better. IT’s amazing what a lot of sleep will do for you. Apparently, I was sleep deprived or something.
oh but now my sleep schedule is still messed up because it’s 2:37.