Wow, back in America… what a trip it is to be here again… home again. Yes…. for all my criticisms and complaints about America it has become home. It was a slow process and the fact of it really dawned on me over the 22 months I spent back in Australia, and really landed on me when I returned here to the good ole’ US of A.
The simplest way I can explain it is that in America there is a great saying “If you are not living on the edge you are taking up too much space.” EVERY time I tell that to an American, they laugh with recognition of the deep truth of it…. they laugh whether they have heard it before, or not.
When Aussies ask me to explain what it is like to live in America I tell them that saying, and EVERY one of them looks at me blankly and says “Huh?”
See, in the sense of that saying, there are no edges in Australia. There is comrehensive national health, good, free eduction, amazingly generous social services and unemployment benefits, so basically if the WORSE things possible happen, you will still be OK.
In America, one major illness can wipe out your entire life savings and leave you homeless and destitute, with unemployment benefits for a total of 18 months in your whole life and no further medical coverage. Ouch.
And yet…. the result of that is that people in America are very, very, very awake in ways that I never saw or found in Australia, the land of “no worries mate” and “no problems”.
I like the edge. OK, so I am a sick and twisated soul who needs the passion and intensity, the aliveness and the risk, but I do like that edge. I guess it is my addiction, my way of increasing my awareness of every moment I have, and have left.
And I like that in America I can easily find people who will play on the edge with me, who want to grow and explore and open up and discover themselves, deeply. And they start doing so much younger because the edge becomes apparent in America when you are much younger.
There is much that is wrong and even sick here in America, but at least it it seen, is visible, because it is pushed to the surface where in “safe and easy” places like Australia it can stay hidden, for the most part, because the pressure never builds enough to push it to the surface.
America is a different world to Australia. I think I have graduated!
– Tomas Gregory