Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Led Foot of Life

On my way up the mountain last night, I was listening to the radio (in and out of static) and caught part of the John Tesh show.  He was discussing the phenomenon that most of us can relate to: the fact that as we get older, the days start to feel shorter and, in general, life seems to fly by quicker.  Psychologists have actually performed studies on this curiosity, hoping to figure out why life seems to accelerate at a nearly alarming pace the further we age.  Based on their studies, they did actually come up with one viable theory.  What researchers found was that every time we, as humans, do something incredibly routine, our brains go into "auto-pilot" mode.  This is no big surprise...most of us already know this; the most obvious example being driving a familiar route every day and suddenly jerking to awareness when we have finally arrived to our destination.  But naturally the older we get, the more routines we establish, such as doing our daily jobs, running errands, grocery shopping, paying bills, cooking dinner, and so on.  Unfortunately, during these familiar tasks, our brains tend to go into that same auto-pilot mode as it does while driving.  Thus, for a huge percent of our lives, our brain is practically on a sort of stand-by, and this can make the days (and ultimately months, years, etc.) feel very short.

The solution, according to researchers?  New experiences.  Every time we engage in activities that breaks the mold of our normal everyday routines, our brains become fully alert and awake, absorbing every part of the moment.  Every new experience is integrated into our memory and can actually have the effect of lengthening our days and, overall, making our lives feel longer.

Now this is all theory, of course.  But hopefully it's legitimate enough to excuse the fact that I got completely drunk last night at a bar in Crestline, danced with a bazillion different people, and walked about half a mile in twenty-some degree weather at 2:00 a.m while eating a chocolate doughnut. 

Shannon, Jeremy, Sarah, Clint, and I all went out to celebrate Sarah's birthday last night.  We decided to walk from Shannon's house to the local tavern, that way we wouldn't have to worry about the drive home.  We arrived around 8:30 and stayed until the place closed.  We had an amazing time.  The place was rustic, warm and inviting, and Shannon and Jeremy knew practically everyone there.  The music played was awesome, and although the dance floor was small, this didn't deter anyone from dancing themselves silly.  I can't remember the last time I danced so much (and trampled so many people in the process). 

The only downfalls to the whole evening were 1. Clint refused to dance, and 2. Jeremy got into a fight.  Regarding #1, the fact that Clint won't come out and dance with me is only a minor issue, because either way I still dance, and he is pretty understanding about me occasionally dancing with other males.  I just feel like he's missing out on such a joyful, cathartic experience and I wish I could share it with him.  I told him today, "You need to stop forcing me to replace you with some random guy every time I want to dance.  Get out there and dance with your wife!  Better yet, throw caution to the wind and get down with your wife.  You should be out there grinding me on that floor and embarrassing the people around us."  Of course I was (mostly) kidding about that second part, but I was suddenly speaking his language and he started cracking up.

As far as Jeremy's fight, it happened as everyone left the bar.  I'm still not clear as to what instigated the fight, but it pretty much seemed to start with your typical verbal machismo contest between two drunk guys.  It eventually led to a physical fight, which was broken up after a minute or two.  Then, as everyone started to part ways, Jeremy suddenly lunged for the guy again.  At this point, one of the guy's friends decided to jump in, and they pinned Jeremy on the ground and were punching and kicking him.  It was horrible.  I remember I just wanted those guys to get off of him, and some other guy kept pulling me back saying "Just let them fight it out, sweetheart."  Aside from the belittling term "sweetheart," Mr. Chauvinist didn't seem to understand that I was actually all for letting them fight it out until it became two on one.  Then I was feeling aggravated that the whole thing was weighted so unfairly.  I'm pretty sure that Jeremy started the fight, but it still prickled at my sense of justice that there were two men pounding into him.  Eventually the fight was broken up and Jeremy's face had some bloody gouges, a swollen lip, and a slowly developing black eye, but overall he didn't look too worse for the wear. 

At this point we made the uphill trek back to Shan's and Jer's house in the freezing darkness (although I personally was still warm from liquor), and happily chitter-chattered about...stuff I can't remember.  I loved that walk home.  I could see my breath coming out in frosty puffs, and Sarah kept whining about having missed out on the whole fight because she was off making goo goo eyes at some cowboy, and the trees loomed so tall, and the stars were so bright.  Sorry, that last sentence was a bit of random stuff shoved together, but I just noticed that it's after 2:00 in the morning, so elegant writing just isn't going to happen.  My final thought is, last night may have not been perfect, but if the above-mentioned researchers are correct, the evening has officially added so-called time to my life (of course any time gained I probably just lost by blogging about it, so now it's actually a push--oh well).  I guess in this sense I don't have any regrets.  Although maybe I need to evaluate the evening a little more and get back to you on that one.