Don’t it always seem to go/You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone — Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell
No time? Jump straight to the adventure window! Or follow me along on my journey….
I feel worn out a lot lately. Words to the effect of “my soul is dying” come to mind. Of course I mainly have these feelings in the context of work, the daily grind, etc. “Don’t want to work for the man!” my soul cries. In answer I just offer it platitudes. “Who ever said you get to be happy”? I tell myself. Or variations: “Nobody’s really happy anyway” “You should try life in the 15th Century before you complain”. Blah Blah Blah.
I could stay stuck in that place for quite a while. But sometimes, something comes along and SNAPS me out of it. I stopped posting on the “El Loro” blog for a few months. And I stopped because…basically…I couldn’t remember why I launched it. I remembered that it was “an inspiration”. But somehow, the muse was gone. And when she’s gone, who ya gonna call? And so I waited.
Somethings comin’ something good…who knows? — Westside Story
A muse works in mysterious ways. There she was on my friend Tarpy’s blog: in a post about a hilarious med-parody page for a new prank drug, Panexa. On the fake med site was a fake corporation, the merd pharmaceutical corporation and that logo linked to the mother ship: stayfreemag. When I got to “Stay Free” (no it’s not a minipad!), something amazing happened–I started breathing.
Now, why did the moral equivalent of an April Fools Day joke, have this profound effect upon me? Why did it seem to tear a hole in the social fabric…just for one second? And how did that tiny affirmation give my soul all the oxygen it needed? Did just knowing that someone else views the world askance or also notices that the emperor has no clothes makes me feel like I’m not crazy or feel like I’m not alone? As per usual, the answer(s) came to me via my spiritual advisor (let’s call her “NPR”) in a broadcast called “Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure?” by Robert Krulwich.
The author interviewed Robert Sapolsky (now my favorite neuroscientist).
Robert seemed to be going thru the same thing I was, but unlike me (sticking to bitching and moaning), he decided to do a study. What age do we pass from the “adventure/novelty” stage to the routine/comfort state. Here are the results
Music – Known in the industry as “Breakthru minus 20”, this is where the 14-21 yrs are Most Open, but by age 35 “window for musical adventure is closed”
Food – 95% likelihood that after 39 your adventure window for new food is closed.
Body Piercing – 16-23 yr olds will try it; but after 23 your piercing window? Slammed shut.
Is it just that we’re loosing brain cells? Robert replied: ““That is pure, pure urban myth”
Avoiding a “Horrible Debilitating State”
But instead of settling for these depressing facts, Robert turned the question on its head (and this is why I love him!). He noticed that some people do retain their sense of adventure, and some don’t. The group that do not have share two common qualities: 1) they spend a long at the same job and 2) they are good at it, they succeed (they become eminent). Therefore if you want to stay open to novelty, don’t stay in the same job too long and don’t become eminent” Because IF you do, “You wind up suffering from this horrible debilitating state”. So “find the “whatever” to pick up and walk away from it”.
Good causes all.
SIDEBAR: The Work of Robert Sabolsky
His bio  says his lab “focuses on three issues: a) how a ‘Neuron’ dies during aging; b) how such neuron death can be accelerated by stress; and c) the design of gene therapy strategies to protect endangered neurons from neurological disease.
SIDEBAR: DÉJÀ VU
Last January, I was ruminating in my post These Are the Good Old Days about how we think the music we listened to in high school was the best. In the NPR story, the writer cites a quote I was I’d thought of first: “Music achieved perfection in 1974” Homer Simpson
Special Thanks to Trucha and JB for their invaluable editorial clarity.
 What follows is cribbed (I mean “summarized” from the NPR story “Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure”. Must have been a great story since I found a half a dozen other bloggers doing the same summary (wish I found one before I worked so hard on mine) Posted on Kurzwelia.net