Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Anniversary

I was a little more excited today about the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, than I expected to be. I had forgotten about it until Danny called to tell me they were talking about it on 850 am. Then my boss sent me a link to the Wall Street Journal, then the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) emailed me two more links to articles in California newspapers. It seemed to be everywhere, and that's good!

Atlas Shrugged has changed my life in so many ways this year. It all started with me ranting to my boss, Sean, about how taxes are "really just stealing" on or about April 15th. (The US and Colorado income tax filing deadlines.) Sean said, "You know, you should read Atlas Shrugged." I asked him if he meant the guy that holds the earth and then I shrugged my shoulders, and he said, "Yes! Exactly!" I looked at him confused, so he proceeded to tell me a bit about the book and the author.

I can't remember if it was that day or the next, but I ordered the book not very long after that conversation. When it arrived, I was somewhat shocked by the thickness of the book, the fine print and the large amount of text. This thing looked like a monster, but I jumped right in, or so I intended to. Rand's writing style was unlike anything I had ever read before. She used vocabulary I had infrequently heard or used myself and she used very literal meanings of words. At first, it irritated me because I just wanted to get into the story and I felt like the unusual words were going to make that difficult, but then, as I settled into the book, finally, I began to appreciate it more and more.

Not only did I become completely engulfed in the characters, but I felt like I could really identify with the theme and the ideas presented in the book. What I found even more inspiring and coincidental was the fact that the state of Colorado plays a large role in the book and I had just moved to Colorado less than a year before. In addition, I was despondent over the state of US politics and the 2006 elections. As a conservative, the elections were pretty disastrous for me. And finally, as I was reading the first third of the book and reading about The People's State of Mexico taking over d'Anconia's copper mines, Hugo Chavez was nationalizing the last of Venezuela's privately owned oil fields and threatening to do the same with TV, banks and steel mills.

After reading the book, I was starving for more information. I had been presented all these grand and noble ideas that resonated with me, but what do I do with it all now? It did not take me long to find ObjectivismOnline.net, an online forum for Objectivists and/or those wanting to know more. After only visiting the forum for a few days, I found out there was an Objectivist group meeting right here in the Denver area. I contacted them and the next month's meeting was very near my home. I have been to two meetings and two social dinners now and am thoroughly enjoying the reading and subsequent discussions. It has also been very nice to meet new people who I find interesting.

Perhaps the most interesting result of my reading Atlas Shrugged and discovering Objectivism, has been the effect on my marriage. I simply realized, finally, that I'm not happy in my marriage and things weren't going to change now matter how hard I tried to force change. My divorce will be final about a month from now, I have a new roommate moving in soon and soon Danny will be moving out. I certainly hope we will continue to remain on friendly terms, but I must say that I am eager, excited and a little nervous about moving on with my life. I feel like I have so much going for me and so many things that I like about myself, that the sky is the limit when it comes to my happiness. And with the wide open spaces, beautiful mountains and seemingly endless skies of Colorado, I feel like I can say for the first time in a long time, if not my entire life, I am happy, I am at peace with myself and I am home.

2 comments:

hansentiffany said...

Ok... let me finish the 1st book you have already given me... then I'll think about asking you to borrow this one. Sounds like it would open up to a lot of conversations. :-p

Dwayne Davies said...

Excellent Kelly! I always love to read about Atlas Shrugged changing peoples life in such ways, it reminds me of the excitement I felt not long after I read it: and the rush I felt when I first realized the world is indeed a far greater place, with far more potential then I had dreamed.

Im excited for you, youve got a lot of good times coming up, not only learning about a philosophy of life, but a lot in your life that sounds exciting.

I wish you the very best of premises!

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