Guys, we’ve all had that harrowing revelation. It usually happens at night, alone, plunked on the couch, a tall boy clutched in one hand and the remote in the other. Either you’re on your third viewing of the same Sportscenter or you’re watching a Pawn Stars marathon, but regardless of what is on your sparkling flat screen, the thought is the same: I have no life. What happened?
It seems like yesterday that you were throwing darts with your friends in every dive bar this side of the Atlantic. It seems like yesterday that you were buying drinks for pretty girls who didn’t give two shits about you, but there was hope in this, a stubborn refusal to admit defeat. A girl could be cold and say no or a dartboard could be left unclosed, but you didn’t care, because you knew that around the corner or down the street, there would always be another dive bar with new girls and better dartboards. Better girls and new dartboards. Different drinks on tap.
This is referred to as optimism, a testosterone-fueled optimism. It is the same kind of optimism that took our forefathers from worn-out English shores to, as Fitzgerald put it, “a fresh green breast of the new world.” The momentum carried them across the Mississippi and into the west, where they won staring contests with the scintillating, seaweed-laden Pacific and carved an empire out of mountain, desert and forest.
While those long nights with your friends were not as epic as Manifest Destiny, they still possessed the special virtues of the American people and their institutions, the drive to redeem and remake the world or, at the very least, whatever bar you were drinking at. Sure, there were sloppy fistfights and throwing up out of car windows, but this was something, an attempt at conquering an itty-bitty slice of life. Now look at you – imprisoned in your home without a life to call your own. Although there’s a girl on your arm, she could care less about the harm that’s been done – the neutralization of the beasts floating in your blood.
You need a life to call your own…
Look, I’m not advocating for the re-establishment of westward expansion or the need to hop into a canoe and explore uncharted river waters. I’m not devaluing one’s relationship with a girlfriend, fiancé or wife. What I am saying is that men need to have their own lives, outside of the relationship. If not, the beasts floating in the blood will revolt and cause collateral damage.
Men and women must have their own lives outside of the relationship – hobbies, a separate group of friends and so forth. This not only keeps the relationship fresh, it also allows both man and woman to have a sense of freedom, of individuality, his or her version of Manifest Destiny. You can’t spend every day and night of the week with your partner. It is overkill and will certainly dull the heart’s taste buds. Sex, along with everything else, will suffer. There needs to be separation anxiety.
I can personally attest to this. I’m in my twenties and have been in a couple of long term relationships. Those, of course, flamed out rather spectacularly for a variety of reasons. If I had to hazard a guess, the main reason for these flameouts is something I like to call dream claustrophobia. You may be asking yourself, what the hell is that? Well…dream claustrophobia is an affliction one gets when they are surrounded by overbearing forces. In my case, it was a lackluster job, a needy girlfriend (who had no life of her own), an unfinished novel/other writing projects and the lack of quality guy time. During this time, I wrote a poem (yes, poetry; I write poetry) that included the line, “Love has killed the explorer in me.” While such a sentiment seems a tad bit overdramatic, that’s how I felt. Really.
Working what essentially amounted to a 9 to 5 job, getting home at around 6, eating dinner and then being inundated with your significant other’s questions, comments, rants and raves is all well and good some of the time, not just all the time. Is this what you really want? I know it isn’t what I want, so these relationships, well, flamed out. I don’t miss them.
You see, this isn’t the 1950s. The economy is a shadow of its former self. For many in my generation (I’m in my twenties), it doesn’t seem like there’s much to work toward or look forward to. Between growing climate concerns and a shaky economy, there’s so much more we should be doing with our time than be bogged down in half-hearted relationships and ghastly jobs. Will any of us ever have the opportunity to retire? Probably not. Will any of us actually make use of our degrees and work at jobs that are in any way related to those degrees? Probably not. Will we ever pay off our student loans? Probably not. Bleak, I know, but honest. Honest and real.
The world doesn’t want us to be explorers. The world doesn’t want us to have lives. We must go against this predetermined fate. Considering the world is against us, why be in a relationship with someone who refuses to let you have a life? It’s pointless, counterproductive and a detriment to the explorer in you. Men (and women) get out of these relationships ASAP. Either that, or have a serious heart-to-heart talk about having separate lives, the need for it. No relationship can survive without a little separation anxiety.
But seriously, here’s the deal: the world sucks and the economy blows. Chances are this won’t improve over time. So, while you can, hang out with the guys. Go and explore the world. Have a life. Play darts and do shots and hit on girls and punch walls. Scream at the moon and run down streets and have epiphanies and live in your dreams. There’s a world out there to conquer. It may not be much (anymore), but it’s out there. You should make it yours. Don’t let anything stand in your way.
You need a life to call your own…
I have one. Is it the greatest? Far from it. Is it fun? Absolutely. All of us have a Manifest Destiny. The beasts in the blood are calling out to you.
Post by Geoff LaPlace