One thing that should catch your eye is that the people throwing rocks in Lhasa are 20-something. I’m a close to 40-something, and close to 40-somethings just don’t throw rocks at tanks. I have my share of youthful activism around the time of Tiananmen when I was trying to overthrow the Chinese government.
What happens when you grow old is not that you really lose the enthusiasm of youth, it’s that you just get tired. When I was 18, it was “YES a chance for me to CHANGE THE WORLD” whereas now it is “good grief, someone wants to me change the world YET AGAIN.” I’ve been through too many screaming arguments, and I’m just a little (actually more than a little) world weary, and I just want the world to quiet down a bit so that I can get a good nights sleep. It’s not that I’ve lost my youthful enthusiasm, more accurately, its that I’ve burned out on youthful enthusiasm.
It’s also not that I’ve lost the will to change the world. When you are 20, the only way you see yourself changing the world is by *MAKING A LOT OF NOISE*. By the time you are 40, you figure out that you get more done by attending the right meetings and talking in a calm tone of voice. The other thing is that when you are 20, you aren’t really part of the power system and so you can scream at power. By the time you are 40, you stand a good chance of being within the systems of power, and once you are in a big giant bureaucracy, you can’t start screaming any time you feel like it, and you become trusted with a lot of sensitive and secret (and really, really juicy) information which you just can’t go randomly posting on some blog somewhere.
About a eight months ago, I made a set of radical decisions, and time has proven that they seem to be really good ones. You decide to do something that seems innocous at the time, and then in a very short time later, you find that the world has changed around you in some massive ways, and you figure out the scary implications of the decisions you made. In this case, it’s more scary good than scary bad, but even scary good decisions are scary.
I’m cursed to lead an interesting life. My life has been much more interesting than I’ve ever wanted it to be, and sometimes I hate it. So I decided that I would try to put myself in the center of things, because if interesting things are destined to happen to me, I might as well be in the center of things exploding so that I might get something out of it, if that is only a good story.
And I got my wish……