Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.


Letter to David W.

I’m glad it was a good one and less challenging than these things can sometimes be. I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing the extended family yesterday though in the end it really worked out nice. That year alone here really did something to me and I’m not at all the man I was prior to the experience. It’s like there’s an internal me (strange concept) who minds and cares for the choices and actions within my control and carefully judges these alone towards the improvement of virtue and the deprecation of vice, and who is largely unfazed by the folly or machinations of others. This change has been attended by more silence on my part and a fading of interest in adventure or going to wild places. It’s like those remote places are now within me and reached easily though the simple act of directed will and mindful thought. At Thanksgiving dinner yesterday I felt like I was looking out at the assembled kinfolk while seated upon the smooth surface of a big warm rock in the desert. The peace and happiness of that far off place welled up like a gentle spring while I listened and occasionally spoke, making sure to carefully choose my words so as to tread the line of engagement which is neither prying nor offensive. A natural form of PC borne of the wish for goodwill and tranquility for the assembled individuals. I really like this change which has come upon me in the last half year and which is becoming more standardized and refined with time. Perhaps this is what it’s like to grow old? To have had enough of the vain efforts and expenditures of self-serving endeavor and over-concern regarding the impression others maintain of us or the legacy we might pass to posterity. It’s a good change. To grow more quiet. To still the mind. To sit alone on a warm stone within the mind. Surrounded by a beautiful imaginary landscape, reflective of experience yet rarified by the principals developed of decades of folly, strife and occasional good fortune. I wonder if I’ll really ever return to the desert, or any wild place in search of wildness? It seems that thing has instead found me.

Thanks for reading my ramble… It’s time to make french toast and then go take my mom to lunch. Have a wonderful day, friend! 🙂


Hello Aaron,

Thank you for writing. I’m pleased to meet you. It seems you’ve got a difficult challenge before you, made more so by the fact that the choice you make in the near future will have long term impact on not only the quality of your life, but the very nature of the character you will mature into. Few at your age have a very clear idea about where they want to go or what they want to do. Those who find their way often do so through the simple act of searching.

Imagine you’ve a vast wilderness before you, and a finite amount of time to explore and discover before death comes to seek you out. You can spend that time seated at the edge of the terrible vastness, unwilling to step forth in earnest for the indecision you feel regarding direction, or for fear of encountering death too early amid the wastes.Such a life isn’t bad, and many find peace and joy in the security and comfort of making camp in whatever place or circumstance they happened to enter life. They might fall into the first job or career that comes along, find a convenient spouse, and perhaps even live a better, longer and more successful life than they could ever have hoped had they trod off alone and frightened along the course of their first or best inclination.

If you go, I’m not saying you’ll find anything out there in the wilds of the seeking life, or that you’ll even survive very long, though your message leads me to believe that’s how you seem to want to live. If you make the decision to seek out your best living, then do so with an understanding that the your odds of success are often strangely proportional to your sense of endured discomfort under the willful force of forward motion. Don’t forget that last part, as forward motion is the key. This doesn’t mean you have to actually move, though your values, will, perspective and world view must ever pass deeper into the wilderness as long as you live, so far perhaps that you can almost lose sight of the outposts of shared humanity, which twinkle like distant cities, impossibly remote and alone across a cold and empty night. When you can reach such a place and still maintain your connection to humanity (some do lose it), then you will have found yourself, and your search for purpose will be revealed as a vain, desperate and unnecessary quest. With a little luck you’ll be satisfied to then begin moving more slowly, easing your pace as the years deepen and your maturity ripens towards a less fearful, satisfying end. It’s a long walk to such a place. Search it out if you wish. Though keep in mind that every day you wait, distracted by the illusion of long life and unending opportunity – which is the lie and deceit of every youth – is a day lost to the quest, subtracting from your meager allowance of time, perhaps even costing you that critical stretch of movement you’ll need to uncover and reach the furthest point of living where the true purpose of life is discovered to be no longer necessary.

Good luck,


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