Young and lost. Thoughts of an Italian immigrant
What is real? What is life? To me, life doesn’t have a meaning. We aren’t born with a purpose, rather we are here because we have an origin. For centuries no one said we had to live setting on goals; well, not until nowadays, when someone decided we need to be productive, to work towards a goal, to look for a “better future”. Isn’t the present good enough? Are you sure you are living the present?
There is nothing bad in living without goals. Nothing wrong in feeling empty for certain periods of our lives. My opinion is that we feel empty because we acknowledge the difference between those who strive towards a goal and us, who sit on our hands given we don’t have goals at all. Here is the point: not being productive doesn’t make us worse than others.
I tried for many years to find my purpose, and I felt unadapted for too long for the fact that, while others are finding their way to follow, I prefer to stop and contemplate the present and the past. I often feel lost, a small rock in a flowing river, however I can’t help my nature of observer and thinker to stay aside in my life. And I don’t want that to happen: the most beautiful and unique part that makes myself who I am shouldn’t be kept apart while I’m striving to do what anyone else does. My tendency to observe, think and write, and my inexplicable nostalgia for a distant past that isn’t even personal, these are the things that were always with me in my sleepless nights.
Excuse me, I tend to be too philosophic, but I have an example in mind that might clarify what I am saying. I recently watched a series of commemorative pictures of a deadly ascent to the Monte Bianco by Walter Bonatti and other mountaineers who were trying to find a new way to reach the peak. Three French and one Italian died during that expedition: I knew the story already as I rode a book by Bonatti, but seeing those pictures definitely fixed in my mind that event. This happened more than sixty years ago, however it can be recalled and lived nowadays too: I want to be the photographer, the archive researcher, the writer that finds and tells the story again.
I’m happier if I don’t look at the future, because my life satisfies me enough for the fact itself that I can experience it and recall the experience afterwards. Thus, the only kind of job that seems to give me some happiness is to document: the medium doesn’t matter. But I do it without a goal. It’s more a necessity. I like to write, film, photograph, I like to do it as I can and with my mistakes, without embellishments of technique or subject, because reality as I see and perceive it is the only thing that interests me.
This is the only way to find the “real life”, that texture that connects people and events tightly and roots back in time. That thing that tells us about memories, traditions, and emotions I want to save from the mists of time. Reality is that part of events that happen which resists to the flowing river of time in stillness, hiding behind the changes but always present in someone’s memory, ready to be discovered and told. That is life to me, there relies its meaning: living the present and, in the present, that time long gone that can be saved by oblivion with a story. To live is to live: it seems so much non sense, nevertheless is all just about that.