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 [2] 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.


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.

[1] 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)[2] Posted on


8 responses to “DON’T WANT TO WORK FOR THE MAN!


  2. George Petrov

    does anyone know a place, or community, or whatever, somewhere in the world where people live simple life? i work in some freaking office and i can’t stand that shit anymore. I’ve been always going with the flow but not anymore. i want to change my life drastically and be happy at least once in my life. I’m sick of thinking about career, salary and job security. It’s pointless, my whole life was about that and that’s why i want to change it. Any ideas?

  3. Thank goodness there are like minds in the world. George I feel you, because I feel the same way. El Loro thanks for writing this and somehow we must continue this discussion to come up with a plan to unlearn this way of living life. My email is let’s talk.

  4. Yes, its boring.. I dont work atm. Wanna live in the woods;)

  5. i know somewhere thats like that but its hard to get. my cousins in india liv on a farm and grow their own food, keep cows etc for milk and stuff and for sellin and generaly luk after themselves…im realy thinkin bout doin it – but its a tough life.

  6. My Boyfriend has decided at 38 to not to work. We argue about all the time. I work and he does not we live in a one bedroom apartment in the ghetto. He plays video games all day. I am now unemployed and have been waiting for him to go to work he finds a new excuse everyday or makes gets ill. I don’t want to break up with him but I think he leaves me with little choice when he expects me to do it all. Make the money clean the house cook the meals, laundry etc.

  7. Sitting here in my cubicle, I’m searching for answers as to why I just don’t want to work anymore. I can’t stop working because I have to make money. Even the homeless work, the work at begging for money all day. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the same line of work, just behind a computer.

    I’m ok for a couple weeks, then I get news of a friend or someone else who strikes it rich or has an amazing opportunity open up for them. Is this the end for me? We live one life and I don’t want mine to be in a cubicle!

  8. I completely understand. I too am sitting behind a computer everyday and despise it. I guess I don’t despise it all the time, but for the most part I feel as if I am wasting a large portion of my life. Is this what life is supposed to be about? Waking up going to work, coming home cleaning, running errands, and then going to bed. My soul wants to be set free to spend more time working on my spiritual self. It does feel like a dead end though. I have these thoughts all the time especially lately, but don’t see an end to it.

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