In honor of Mother’s Day this is a reposting of the bio I wrote on my mom, Jane Roberts, who died in 2006 at the age of 83. She had a long life with successes and failures, and became a great mentor and at times even comrade to me. During my teenage years in the early 1970s her struggle to recover from her divorce from my dad led me to finally start seeing her as a person like me, and not some iconic parental figure. That realization transformed my life…
Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category
Updated Monday April 15: A week ago Sunday at 11pm at night, Emma’s right lung collapsed for a second time, as it had done a couple months ago. Luckily this time, she knew enough from last time to know exactly what was happening to her, and since her boyfriend Luke was home he could take her to Kaiser hospital. What followed was a challenging week that looks to all end well tomorrow, with the problem repaired and future incidences or complications highly unlikely.
It is a condition described clinically as a “spontaneous primary pneumothorax”. It is a rupture of the tissue of the lung that causes it to deflate and allows the chest cavity to fill with air outside the lung making it hard for the lung itself to reinflate. Such a rupture can be a secondary effect of an illness, or the result of some trauma like sudden or extreme air pressure change. But in this case there was no illness or trauma, thus the “spontaneous” label.
Life, at its best, is a series of adventures; not always successful, not always happy endings, but compelling narratives worth living, sharing with others and spurring our fullest development.
Continuing my series on the key unschooling threads in my young life, I share some of my key developmental travel adventures, which were mostly endeavors engaged in outside of any classroom, school or other formal learning situation. Yet they were some of my most important developmental experiences, giving me a useful orientation along with a sense of agency that I have taken into my adult life, more significant to the person I’ve become than anything I learned in school.
With the wrong mindset, travel can be cast as an arduous logistical chore, long dull hours in a seat, or the discomfort of unfamiliar food, people or circumstances. But when traveling is cast in the light of adventure, I think it can be the greatest of experiences, particularly for kids. If life is a journey, then a trip to somewhere else can be a microcosm of life’s journey, a metaphorical education on perhaps how better to lead one’s life.
This is quite a long autobiographical piece (over 8000 words) weaving together a handful of pieces I have written previously in order to capture an important unschooling thread in my young life that has had a profound impact on who I was able to become as an adult.
In my previous piece, “My Real Issue is Human Development” (reviewing my own thoughts as expressed in my “Lefty Parent” blog) I called out that human development and the evolution of consciousness towards a “more evolved” state are what I consider of paramount importance and worthy of continuing discussion. One of my fellow blogging comrades on Daily KOS, “Cassiodorus”, challenged me on this with a thoughtful difference of opinion…
I would recognize life as a progression of qualitatively different states, with new realizations and burned energies each step of the way… You have cycles: birth, life, death.
Perhaps a more pragmatic, less metaphysical take on our species and individual existences than my own.
My comrade posed a provocative question on what in fact I meant by “more evolved” and what exactly did I see the human species developing towards?
So in the spirit of what I see as an important ongoing dialog… here goes!
As I have said before, my life has been lived to a soundtrack. Growing up in an age of ubiquitous car radios, restaurant juke boxes, record players and later stereos, it seems like the popular songs of the day were always playing in the background, over and over. Marshall McLuhan talks about the “retribalization” that is the “water we swim in” in an age of ubiquitous electronic media. Said McLuhan in his 1969 Playboy magazine interview…
The electronically induced technological extensions of our central nervous systems… are immersing us in a world-pool of information movement and are thus enabling man to incorporate within himself the whole of mankind. The aloof and dissociated role of the literate man of the Western world is succumbing to the new, intense depth participation engendered by the electronic media and bringing us back in touch with ourselves as well as with one another.
Recorded music has certainly played a critical role in my own development and even survival. In my own life my deepest emotions and passions have been captured and recalled by a catchy tune, mostly recorded popular music heard on the radio or played on a record (and later tape or CD) player. Lyric, melody and rhythm have continually inspired me to live more fully or (in those most difficult of life’s moments) to keep on keeping on.
The first such piece of music that I recall playing such a role in my life was Petula Clark’s 1965 hit, “Downtown”… (more…)
I am more concerned about the “spin”, and the reinforcement of the prevailing conventional wisdom about the limits of the agency of youth and the responsibility of parents and other stewards of those youth to restrain and constrain the more prodigious among them from pursuing their dreams and strutting their stuff.
I guess the facts of this particular anecdote and the decisions that were made by Sunderland and her family are arguable. Maybe getting delayed and having to do the treacherous Cape navigation in the southern hemisphere winter was bad judgment. Maybe being driven by the notoriety of a place in the record books is not the best reason for launching an adventure. Maybe older youths should have significant limits imposed on them beyond what they would choose to impose on themselves.
On the 200th anniversary of her birth, Unitarian-Universalists are rediscovering and celebrating one of the giants of their movement, Margaret Fuller. She is acknowledged in the recent UU World article as one of the trio of key thinkers that defined the philosophy of Transcendentalism that emerged in the mid 19th Century as a challenge to the prevailing patriarchal “command and control” paradigm of the emerging capitalism, industrialism, and the related social engineering that was popular in mainstream progressive Protestant denominations, including mainstream Unitarianism.
Obscured in history, perhaps because of her gender, Fuller may in fact have played the critical role (as what some call America’s first public intellectual) in putting forward the Transcendentalist ideas of a more humanistic self-directed vision of human progress. Maybe more so than her colleagues Emerson and Thoreau, she championed those ideas in American popular cultural to counter the prevailing top-down model of social development.
I like each day I live to have a little bit of adventure in it, and today was a perfect example of making that so. In fact I am writing this piece on a bus headed down Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, doing exactly what I would want to be doing at this moment, but not what I expected or planned to be doing at this time.
We had an offsite gathering for my work down in Irvine today, about 50 miles south of my work site in Burbank. They scheduled a bus from our office to the site and back, but the return would get us back to the office at around 4:30pm, way too late for me to hop my 222 bus to Hollywood and then the 2 bus to the Palisades. Initially I had resigned myself to forgoing my normal Thursday ritual of having dinner with Sally and her folks at their house in the Palisades.