Verge: A edge, border, between the known and the unknown.
I am laying in my childhood bed in Chapel Hill, the house I grew up in. All my belongings from college are scattered around my room, and an open backpack sits at the foot of my bed. Today I will fill it with a few clothes, books, a tent, sleeping bag and herbs, and I will be living out of that backpack for the next few months.
Tomorrow I leave for Costa Rica, embarking on a journey of sorts. I am incredibly excited, and feel so must trust in the Universe that it will be a powerful and important time.
A few months ago, I decided to take an indefinite leave from college (Tufts, in Boston) to travel, explore, grow, and learn outside of the structure of the university. I make a distinction between schooling and learning. I love learning, and plan to do lots of that, but I have been finding the 4-year private, competitive college environment to be a bad one for learning. I believe we need a revolution in our culture, both in our consciousness, and in the external structures. I found that college taught the same economic (capitalist) values that I saw as incredibly destructive…scarcity, competition, hierarchy, lack of respect for young people, and an extreme emphasis on career preparation. Except that almost none of my friends really know what they want to do with their lives, and have had trouble finding what really makes them come alive, what they are truly passionate about, since most time is spent meeting the demanding requirements of coursework. Our current economic system of endless growth, competition, and exploitation of people and the earth has driven us to the verge of a crisis. Even though we have the technological solutions, global climate change keeps accelerating, as an elite class of industry and political leaders choose their profits over the well-being of people. We live in times of unprecedented crisis: social, economic, environmental, spiritual.
In these times, college wasn’t the place for me anymore. Which brings me to where I am now, laying in bed, about to embark on this journey. I know I am incredibly privileged to even be in a position to leave college, a level of education that isn’t available to many people. However, I am feeling stuck, uninspired, and sick of learning all the “old ways” of thinking which are based in competition, scarcity, endless growth, individualism, and high consumerism. It is with immense gratitude for the opportunity I have to be in college that I am choosing to walk away from that world for a time. So I am also on the verge of this new chapter.
On Power and Knowledge
As a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do.
Ursula Le Guin
The Wizard of Earthsea
A friend shared that quote with me, and it resonated deeply and inspired me to leave school. Ever the way I can follow grows narrower, I now seek to do only and wholly what I must do. This blog is called in the verge, because I see myself and our society at large as being perpetually in the verge of great turnings and changes. (Also, “On The Verge” was taken, but that was a gift since I see “In The Verge as more accurate).
In this blog, I will post occasional updates from my adventures and travels being in the verge. My intentions are to share with friends and family what I am up to, but also, to create a practice for myself of regularly writing and reflecting on my experiences, with the hope that maybe it will inspire others to take time off school if they feel called, or to at least question the values and systems they were brought up to replicate and perform.
My vision for this time is a journey of clarifying my purpose and direction in life and finding new ways to engage in activism. I am excited for: being outdoors, in areas where being closer to the land is possible (read: sunny and warm, anti boston-in-january weather) Being physical and physically engaged. Living in intentional communities focused on youth, social chance, consciousness. Alternative economic systems. Spaces for emotions, having fun, spiritual connections, playing music, realness and authenticity. permaculture. being connected to something larger that’s evolving and growing.
I am departing for Costa Rica tomorrow. First, I will be at a hotel with my family (including a grandmother and aunt!) and then, in early January, they go back home and the journey begins in earnest. So far, I am planning to visit small beach towns and surf, work and live in an eco-village in Guanacaste, go to Envision Festival as a volunteer and dance and create with pretty trippy visionary people, and visit Monteverde, a quaker community. I don’t have a set itinerary, and those plans may change!
Welcome, everyone, to my blog, and I invite you all to be In The Verge with me!