Yesterday, in an excessively long car trip from Milano to Roma, a song came on the radio- It's a new release from Tiziano Ferro- link below.
There was a line in the song that made me think about my own life at the moment;
“Il mondo va veloce ma tu vai indietro”
Translation; The world moves ahead fast but you go backwards”
(It’s much better in Italian- meaning and the sound of the words.”) But anyway- I was in the car, watching the mountains of Emilia Romagna pass me by and change into the Cyprus trees and palazzos of Tuscany when this song came on. I had heard it before- in a restaurant or a store, and immediately recognized it- but for the first time, I listened to the words.
I listened and realized that the serenity I have been searching for may have never had anything to do with me at all- but that everything else around me seems to move at an accelerated rate. “Il Mondo va veloce,” as time moves ahead with a fervor I seem to be incapable of abiding by. I don't think it’s an incapacity to move along with it- I can keep up and have done so in the past. It’s more about the lack of desire to pursue what I know won’t fulfill my desires when the pursuit is over.
Possibly, it’s why I was drawn to Europe in the first place; the slower pace of life, the ability to sit down, step back and enjoy. Although, even if I have somewhat found my place in Europe- the world seems to still move to quickly and I began wondering what it is that I am resisting?
Then this song came on. And Tiziano said, “ma tu vai indietro”- and the sudden thought occurred to me that- I’ve been heading backwards.
I’m still working this thought out in my own mind- in the context of my own life…but I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not so much regressing as moving in another direction. There is this strong current pulling me one way- pulling the world in one way- from medicine, to technology to the simple act of ageing. It has been said that salmon swim upstream. And here I am, a Salmon…swimming upstream my entire life- tiring myself out.
I once had a thought that maybe I would one day eat Salmon- despite my vegetarianism- being that salmon seems to suffer their entire lives- swimming in the wrong direction- struggling against a partly invisible force until they are either caught or die.
Although I don't see myself with quite the same strain as salmon undergoes- it's a mental strain…the desire to move in one direction while the world passes by at an unalterable pace. Its like a train ride through the countryside in a rare and beautiful part of the world- everything flying by the windows is so astonishing that you want to reach out and touch it- but before the view has a chance to register in your mind- it is gone. And even worse, something else even more beautiful shows up in its place and then, without fail, that too is gone. You feel the pull to go back and understand, feel and experience the first thing you saw- the lure to move backwards. By the end of the trip- you have only gotten a taste- a mere glimpse of each landscape. It moved so quickly that even the momentary memories are now fading. All you want to do is go back, all the while trying to figure out where it is you wanted to end up. That's what I’m doing- trying to figure out where it is I would like to end up.
And here I am, going backwards against all the flashing lights pointing me forwards. Maybe its time to give in and swim with the current. Because what is the point of it all? I’m behind and I’m only making it worse for myself because the world will never change directions- time will never slow down- the current will never slow its pace.
The last line in the song, out of line with my current thinking, is “Il bene più segreto sfugge all’uomo che non guarda avanti, mai.” Translating to; the most secret escape is to not look ahead, ever.”
So as with any important decision or fork in the road- there are at least two directions to go in. One, the most reasonable and probably the sanest of options, is to move forward along with the world and two, to ignore the world that is passing me by at the speed of light.
And what’s so bad about being a Salmon? There has got to be a reason they do it- a reason they were put on this earth, and in their streams- only to face a struggle. There has got to be a reason I have spent the bulk of my life moving in another direction. Unlike the salmon, maybe I can be strong enough to beat the current- or to stop the train even for a day.