What Barack Obama’s Book Has Taught Me
How can your mission in life change in an instant?
I’ve grappled with my current journey a lot recently and it’s evident that a return to reading is changing everything. I’ve just finished Barack Obama’s autobiography (if you can call it that) and there’s one particular point that stands out.
The text overall is a fascinating insight into Obama’s life. Whether he’s discussing issues of race, his false start in life or his earlier years in Hawaii and Indonesia, he doesn’t hold back. I expected a political bore fest. What I actually got was a re-evaluation of what’s life’s all about.
Consumerism is a lie – I’ve always known this, but it’s a fact that’s very difficult to escape. The world is what it is and it takes a huge amount of effort to go against this conformity.
Before you ask, I’m not off to join a commune.
In Obama’s book he describes an encounter at 22 years old. A particularly astute man questions his career choice with the words, ‘don’t waste your youth. Don’t wake up old, tired and [for the sake of this argument] regretful.’
Our time on this earth is limited. The key is having no regrets. ‘Stuff’ is essentially pointless and recently I’ve been clearing out vast amounts of junk that doesn’t hold any value to me. Life is about experience. This TED talk is particularly relevant and well worth the watch.
I’ve always seen myself moving slowly towards a counterculture existence – a movement which begun with my discovery of beat poetry at University. I’ll get there eventually. It’ll be a modern version – living by 1950s counterculture ideals is impossible in 2012, but the belief that things don’t equal happiness is still easy to live by.
Sometimes there’s a point to these mini essays. Sometimes there’s no meaning behind them. Other times I write them for a future self that holds the key to the lock. Who knows.
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