According to science, your brain finishes developing in your late 20’s. That last little bit deals with rationality and impulse control and anticipating consequences to actions. It’s a good thing, in the long run.
Unfortunately for me, that final development seems to have just killed my spirit of adventure. The iron curtain came down and separated it from the rest of me.
In my early 20’s, when I was friends with people involved in the independent professional wrestling circuit in Chicago, it was nothing for me to get off of work at noon on Saturday (after getting up at five in the morning), drive to the Chicago suburbs for a show and not get home until two in the morning. There a few times when I’d find myself driving home as the sun rose after having spent several hours after the show wandering the streets of Chicago, being up a full twenty-four hours. I don’t recommend doing that.
I didn’t say that my adventures were necessarily smart. I once drove through a tornado to go to a bar to watch a group of friends put on a wrestling show that nobody came to see because there was a tornado. To be fair, I didn’t know I was driving through the tornado at the time. I heard the warnings as I was driving, but I wasn’t familiar with the counties in that area of the state, so I wasn’t sure exactly where they were warning. And those cars that pulled over to the side were wimps. Wimps!
Around that time, it was beyond me to drive eight hours to Arkansas to visit a friend for a weekend. Or fly to Philly to visit another friend for a weekend. Or drive to Arkansas, spend the night, drive to Memphis, catch a flight to Philly, spend the night in Delaware, spend another night in New Jersey, fly back to Memphis, drive back to Arkansas, spend the night, and then drive home.
Once, I took the train with one friend to Chicago, met two other friends up there. We spent two nights in a hostel. The bathroom was communal. The showers had curtains, but most of the bathroom stalls didn’t have doors. Our first night there, we spent three hours talking to a guy named Dylan whose entire side of the conversation amounted to a pick-up line. We spent an entire day at Six Flags. We went to Navy Pier. We got lost in Chicago and were mistaken for prostitutes (we weren’t directly solicited, but why else would the same car slowly pass us five times as we stood on the sidewalk trying to figure out how to get back to the hostel?). We missed our train home because we just had to go back to My PI for lunch and we tipped our waiter for being cute.
Did I mention that I did all of this in a three day weekend after working seven days straight, four of those days working twelve hours a day at a store in Indiana, and before going back to work for another ten day stretch?
I was crazy, but I was also fearless. I wouldn’t think twice. I lost quite a bit of that between twenty-five and thirty.
Oh, I’ve had adventures since then. I went to three Chicago Comicons (back in my day they were called Wizard Worlds) and two DragonCons. But those adventures were better planned out in comparison to my earlier trips. They reflected the growing awareness that not everything could be winged and some things were better with a little foresight.
But, I realized this past summer that my adventurous spirit was off in an old folks home somewhere. My mother surprised me with tickets to a Cubs game as an early Christmas present. My first thought after “YAY! CUBS GAME! THANKS, MOM!” was “Wow, I’m going to have to find someone to go with me who will drive because I don’t want to”. Now, I’ve never liked to drive, but ten years ago that wouldn’t have stopped me; I’d have just driven if I couldn’t have found someone else to do it.
I need to get some of that adventurous spirit back. Some of the fearlessness, not necessarily the stupidity. I’ve still got some stupidity to spare. But, adventures are what make life fun and interesting and I need to get back into the habit of having those.
I need to raise that iron curtain in my brain and let a little of that spirit back out.
And I need to get some money to make having those adventures possible. But that’s a post for another day.