Adventure Imperialism

I want to go outside. I want to see the sun hit the decks of old houses built in my neighbourhood. I want to swing by the local bar and mosey in for a drink. I want to walk past shopfronts and kids’ soccer practise, busy banks and empty libraries; I want to take in the world, each person and moment at a time.

The company I keep do not want this. Or maybe not that they don’t want it but that they haven’t had the experience to have noticed it and no reason to look. My housemate, my old housemate, my closest friends they are all still where I was four months ago; they sit and watch TV, play video games and generally let the hours of their “free” time dissipate into changing pixels and simple visual reward systems. Once the game is turned off, no evidence of achievement or labour exist. Only in the minds of the players. It’s so fucking arbitrary. To see a person invest hours upon hours of repetitive gameplay into something that does nothing for their “real life” is strange. The only thing you see objectively is a person controlling a digital surrogate walk and fight. The rewards are not clear, the journey is the same no matter what the exposition has revealed and the rewards they receive help the character to increase his skill level as the required skill to defeat the next villian is too increased. A simple reward system that gives the player no discernable benefit outside the gameplay itself. It’s so fucking redundant.

I used to watch TV to pass the time, telling myself I was interested in the expression of the human condition, that I was addicted to the writing and performances. That I was some scholar watching and taking notes so that one day I too could create a masterpiece.

But no. I was stuck. I would watch TV because that way I could let writers, actors and directors spoon me dialogue and story, to which I could resonate with emotionally. I wouldn’t have to do a thing.

Travelling changed all that. The dependence on myself to find entertainment, the lack of TV being an option, the long summer days and new neighbourhoods. Aprile played a big part too. She’s not into television or movies and reminded me of the joy and pleasure that just being in the present moment could bring. I wanted to bring that back to my friends. I want to show them how easy it is to enjoy things for free, without reward, without prizes and money, without having to “earn” it. It’s all there for the taking. You just have to open your eyes.

Yet I contradict myself. I am assuming that if people merely acted like me then they too would feel the same way but this is not true. I am only feeling this way because of the EXPERIENCE, not the mindset. No one convinced me to love aimless wandering, no one convinced me to walk around a neighbourhood experiencing it with all five senses on fire. I discovered it, firstly by chance, then by the shape of my environment and the people in it and finally, after being exposed and transformed, then by choice. I also happen to still love vegging out in front of a tv, letting myself laugh and feel for the actors on the screen. I’ve watched more tv than gone on walks since I’ve been back I shamefully admit.

So I’ve fallen into choosing comfort rather than truth from time to time. I can be a slave to my desires, those that request a non energy state. I’ve spent the last twenty four hours moving from various positions of rest from the couch, to the armchair, to the toilet seat, to the bed. Forty five minutes each at least. And what did I do with that time? With that freedom? I sat and I pondered. I sat and I wasted my time. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t bring myself to waste away in front of a TV but also couldn’t find it in me to experience the real world as it is. So I was left to seek out the least expenditure of energy: not moving. But my brain doesn’t have that luxury, its movement is hardwired into its functionality. So while I sat there like some paralysed lump my brained whirred and buzzed. It fed me guilt. It fed me content. It fed me apathy. Maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up for a days worth of laziness but I cannot help it. I can’t find the perspective that influences my brain enough to shoot me out of bed and spread my arms wide singing “carpe diem” into the mirror. Not today anyway.

And in much the same way that people force their religious beliefs onto others I was starting to try to enforce my adventurous beliefs. And my friends are just not interested. They can’t see the point in walking, in wandering, in talking, in taking in the world. There is no reward. There is no golden chest or distressed damsel. There is no way to convince someone that walking through a quiet street is its own fulfilment when the person you’re talking to knows only how to spend their time trying to win something or figure something out. Or want something at the end.

The trick for me was discovering not to want. In a True sense. Then I could release my mind from chasing a goal, earning a prize, finding the answer and solving the mystery to just being in the damn moment. To seeing what the sunlight does when it falls through the leaves of an elm as its turns into fall in Middle America. To hear the ripping and tearing of a thick freshwater river outside my tent as its turbulent mass cascades down a million smooth stones. To see the dilapidated housing of a neighbourhood hit hard by the last five years and wonder about the lives and people who had to escape the slow relentless nightmare of the recession. These awarenesses were fulfilling in a way that no solved mystery, or sacred battleaxe or defeated villian could provide. Because to feel fulfilment from these experiences required something more. It was the quest for Truth, it was a seeking of knowledge that was led by the world itself and not some preconceived goal.

I want to get back to this. It is difficult to do alone. The rejection of my friends working to unground me from this simple reality. The rejection of my friends isolating me. The adherence to the screen doing the same.

I don’t want to force my worldview, I don’t want to isolate myself from my friends and I definitely don’t want to create a mindset that attacks it or is predjudiced against something they all hold dear.

So I must adventure alone. The seeking of my own truths has become a solo endeavour yet again. My momentary insight that I gathered through sharing has transformed me. But I need to be fulfilled on my own. And continue to find people that are looking for something more in this life, as I was, and are willing to take on my ideas. As I will be theirs.


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