RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.
*Written in 2014.
Men need adventure. I don’t know why, it is just in our DNA. It is something that burns at our very core and something that needs to be quenched once in a while, otherwise we start to turn into some formless goo of a person.
Most men today, are this goo. I guess that’s good for bossy bitchy women, as their goo men are more or less putty in their hands. However, to the good not-so-bossy non-bitchy women out there, you’ve got to understand our thirst for adventure and respect it. Just like men need their other men friends to go out and be men and shit, they also need to feel like Indiana Jones every so often.
I hike for my health, sure. However, I could just walk on the sidewalk or go to easy trails and still get pretty good results. I choose to hike in dangerous, swampy, murky and reptile-infested places because it is an adventure. When I complete a ten mile hike in the Everglades or nearby, I don’t just feel a sense of accomplishment from the miles I walked, calories I burned and the hot Florida sun I absorbed. I also feel accomplishment from knowing that I once again conquered an area of the world that most people are deathly afraid of even going into. I certainly feel great from doing the physical challenge but I feel more elation from the adventure. The times I was in real danger, I walked away feeling high.
This doesn’t mean that a man needs to go out and do stupid shit and take ridiculous risks but facing hard and heavy shit and weathering the elements has a pretty big spiritual payoff and does wonders for the ego and a man’s sense of self. There are a lot of societal pressures on men, as to what makes a man. Well, first of all, fuck what anyone else thinks. Secondly, every man is different. Thirdly, one of the things that does make a man is adventure.
Finding adventure or even time for adventure in the modern world is difficult. We wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, go to lunch, go back to work, go home, eat dinner, go to sleep, wash, rinse, repeat. That is our daily life and for some of us, we don’t really get to escape the modern adulthood cycle even on weekends. If we do escape work some days, it is usually replaced with errands. There is very little time for ourselves and when we have it, we are usually too exhausted to do anything about it.
As far as time goes, I do have the benefit of not having a wife and kids. I’m not saying that my lifestyle is preferable, it just is my lifestyle and it gives me the benefit of having more time to myself than most men my age. Although, I do have friends with wives and kids and a few of them are fortunate enough to have wives that allow them their time to themselves, as they also repay the favor, allowing their wives to have their own personal time. I think that’s a definite good sign of a strong marriage built on respect and understanding. But this post isn’t about marriage, so let me get back on track.
The thing is, you have to make time do get out there and do what you need to do to feed the fire inside. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your significant other and your friends. If you have kids, you owe it to them because you certainly don’t want your kids to look back and remember you as that guy that would just conk out on the couch with a glass of whiskey every Sunday afternoon. The things that you really want for yourself and who you want to be ideally, are what you should be instilling in your children. Unless your ideal self and what you want for them is to be a semi-buzzed couch potato that can’t make it through the first half of a football game without passing out and snoring like a power chipper. And to the wives out there, is this who you wanted to marry?
Nowadays, adventure seems like something of the past that there isn’t room for in the modern world. Technology and innovation has changed a lot. For instance, nearly every inch of Earth has been explored and millions of people have scaled massive mountains. Treasure hunting has been reduced to retirees on Florida beaches with metal detectors and spades. Modern adventure has become a sort of simulation or a thing achieved through extreme quick fixes like bungee jumping, skydiving, base jumping, etc.
Personally, none of those appeal to me. I prefer roughing the elements on the ground and encountering seemingly life-threatening scenarios that way. Alligators and venomous snakes give me more of a rush, even though they mostly hightail it when you get near them. And I’ve yet to see a bear, boar, deer or panther that hasn’t ran away at the first sight of me. But there is always that chance of danger and being caught in the moment is what feeds my fire. But each man is different, you have to find what your thing is. Maybe figuring out what your favorite form of adventure is, could be an adventure in itself.
You can’t keep ignoring this part of yourself and tucking it away somewhere. It is a big part of what we are and not just men but human beings. Our entire history and our entire lives up until a few decades ago was nothing but adventure. That shit doesn’t just die because technology has made life easier. That’s like the best baseball player in the world quitting his sport to focus on playing MLB The Show from his couch. But that is essentially what we have done. We live vicariously through movies, video games and shit we see on the Internet but that doesn’t do anything other than make that fire burn more, at least for me. I’m not satisfied with simulation and watching someone else do it. I want the real thing.
Some guys are satisfied enough getting adventure through sports. It worked for me. I even raced cars for a bit and that did serious wonders for my adventurous soul. Everyone has got their thing or several things. It is imperative that you find it and act on it though.
It’s way too easy to keep making excuses and convincing yourself that you don’t have the time or energy to devote to anything other than your modern life cycle. Life isn’t about mundane cycles. Life is something you live and you aren’t living it passed out on the couch during your downtime. Teddy Roosevelt’s ghost is laughing his ass off right now.
Men need to experience and discover new things. Why have we stopped?
You see, adventure isn’t just about cheap thrills, adrenaline and the high you get, it is also about finding yourself, testing yourself and truly getting to know who you are, what you’re made of and pushing yourself even further than what you thought you could. That’s living life to the fullest and no one can say you wasted your time if you just went out and made the effort. You never know, you might like what you find.