On a recent Bill Maher show on HBO, Levi Johnston was a guest, and Bill gave the young lad some excellent advice:  “You don’t have to be where you’re from.”

Bill’s earnest advice, of course, went right over Levi’s head — who provincially replied he was staying in Alaska while ridiculously wishing to become the next mayor of Wasilla.

Even if Levi didn’t understand the beauty in Bill’s advice, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t take the idea to heart and act on it.

Too many of us are born into a place and we live and die there without venturing away from our home community to test our values, honor our virtue, and place our live beliefs in a wider world Panopticon.

Striking out on our own takes courage, a ton of hubris, and a touch of foolish, youthful, moral turpitude.  We were constructed for just such a journey of the spirit.

The older we get, the more tempted we are to dig our roots deeper into the birth soil and never leave the wan — and suspended in amber — shell of what we think we know.  We anchor ourselves to the mismerits of the past and we repress our curiosity to know “what else is out there” in order to cope with the punishing reality of what we have here.

A college education is one way of cleaving the self from the semitone of home — but only if one travels beyond the bindings of birth to immerse the whole self in the midst of unalike minds and tempestuous transitions.  Exposure to the new and the unique is what builds intelligence and crashes brittle boundaries to light new onomatopoetic pathways.

As a people, we were founded in nomadism where we sought out new food sources and searched for a better life in real time with the wages of sin abetted against us.  We moved.  We persevered.  We became greater than those who set foot before us.

Today, in the want for comfort and safety, we have become static and wanton.  We vilify the foreign.  We reject the new.  We are too afraid to test the venture against the vision and so we rot in our unbuttoned overcoats and casual shoes as the wild expanse of the world waits for us to never be where we’re from.

5 Comments

  1. It’s laughable when Levi was asked recently what his goals for mayorship were, and he said that he hadn’t determined that quite yet.

    I’m fond of the new. Sometimes I throw myself into something new just because it is new and I want to see what it will be like.

    1. Yes, Levi is a joke. His whole “affair” with Kathy Griffin was supposed to be funny, but it was all just very sad.

      He’s lost and wandering — and that’s why I think Bill gave him that sage advice. His life is beyond Alaska and the Palins. He needs to make a life of his own without them.

      Learning something new is always challenging and often fun. The more new experiences we pile upon what we already know, the higher we can see what’s heading toward us in the distance.

  2. Have to confess to not having a clue who Levi Johnston is but the advice of Bill Maher is grand. Leaving home is the only way to find out who you are and what you can do. As a parent I have encouraged and enabled most of the brood to fly the nest. They are flying beautifully. However, having the ‘parenting mode’ switched on is much easier than switching it off. And biting your tongue while mistakes are made is painful and actually feels irresponsible. It’s very nice to know that my relationship with these fledglings is not predicated on geography.

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