Well, since I had a nice long rant/bitch session last night I think I should even it out with some actual positive things for a change. I’ve been in a pretty good and contemplative mood today..not doing a lick of work, a couple of beers, and a nice dinner certainly helped with that…so I’m going to do a bit of a stream of consciousness of things that I love or appreciate but often seem to forget about…and some of the underrated pleasures in life. I’m going to try to avoid the obvious shit like friends and family and puppies…so some of them may be a bit esoteric.
I would say probably one of the biggest pleasures in my life is music. I was trying to figure out the other day if my favorite method of consuming “art” was music or reading, and while it’s a tough call, I think music probably brings out more emotions in me than even reading does. A good song has the ability to make me feel both happy and sad at the same time, confident and regretful, nostalgic and looking forward to the future. A truly good song or band can make me want to dance(which I suck at), sing at the top of my lungs(which I also suck at), or even play the air guitar(which is sad at my age).
A song can also make me happy or sad by the memories it invokes: there’s songs that I used to love during my high school or college years that I rarely listen to these days because they are bittersweet: bringing back great memories and feelings but also reminding me how old I am and making me sad about how life used to feel limitless and full of possibilities and may not so much anymore.
Not to mention that anytime I hear a truly great singer or musician, I am truly jealous of their talent; I really think that if I could be truly amazing at one thing, it would be something musical.
Alright, my next truly underrated pleasure in life that just occurred to me has to do with music as well, and that’s driving on a sunny, beautiful day, windows rolled down, with a really great song blaring on the stereo…hair blowing and all seeming right with the world. Even better if you have a pretty girl next to you or a carload of friends and you’re heading somewhere fun, but even alone it’s pretty damn good. I hope that no matter how old I get or how little hair I have left that I won’t lose the pleasure of this one.
Alright, this next one is one that I’ve often thought about at different parts of my life, and it’s one of the more esoteric ones: that feeling you get, no matter how old you are or which sex you are or whatever the situation, when you first meet someone that you think might be “the one” or someone you’re going to be really into. I don’t mean sexual desire, though I suppose that probably plays a part in it.
I mean that endorphin rush that you get when you first meet that girl/guy at a party, a friend’s house, or anywhere. Often it’s just infatuation, many times it doesn’t work out, sometimes it ends really badly, and every now and then it works out…but for a short time, everything seems more heightened, the air smells sweeter, you have that sense of excitement and endless possibilities, and you feel like you can do anything, even if just for a short time. I’ve often said that if you could chemically synthesize a drug that gives you that feeling, it would be more addictive and amazing than anything that cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, or whatever could ever hope to be.
One example from my personal life. When I was a senior in high school, I took the SAT twice. I’m a reasonably smart guy though I sucked at math at the time. The first time I took it, I did the whole going to bed early, eating a good breakfast, doing everything you’re supposed to thing. I did reasonably well. The second time I took it, I went out and partied the night before and was honestly a bit hungover the next morning when I went and took it.
I don’t remember the exact scores after all this time, but I scored several hundred points higher the second time, and the reason was: I had met a really cute girl the night before at a party and we really hit it off, and she was going to be calling me later in the day. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t slept all that well or was hungover; I had that invincible feeling that you get when you meet someone new and all the possibilities in the world are at least momentarily open to you. As it happened, it ended up ending rather disappointingly in the long run, but I can still remember that transitory feeling that we’ve hopefully all felt at some point in our lives.
Now I’m an older guy now, a lot more water under the bridge. I’ve had some long term relationships and been in love and fairly serious a few times, and there are feelings that develop over time that are better than that endorphin rush of first infatuation, but they are definitely different and harder to explain. I’ve often thought that outside of the many psychological and social problems that people have, one reason some people cheat is to feel that rush again, that same way drug addicts chase the high. I’ve done a lot of drugs in my life but I’d trade any of the highs for that feeling of being young and having a cute girl give you her number and feeling like you have a whole world open before you, even if just for a short time.
Well shit, as you may have noticed, when I start out writing about something I never really know where I might end up going, so I guess I’ll just talk about one more thing and then call this post quits, since I’m already over 1000 words.
In the same vein as music, or even the endorphin rush of infatuation, I’d put sports as one thing that seemingly has the power to give pleasure in much higher proportions that it really should. When I say sports, I mean as a spectator; obviously if you compete in anything you’re going to get that adrenaline rush. What I find amazing is the way that you can actually get a semblance of that rush just from watching others play a sport.
Obviously there’s many that won’t understand this, but when you’re emotionally invested in a sports team or player, it’s possible to reach incredible heights of satisfaction or even ecstasy from watching a game, match, or whatever.
As a longtime UGA football fan, I can remember the feeling that I had when a friend of mine and I were watching the 2001 Georgia/Tennessee game on tv and Georgia scored late to win it like it was yesterday…jumping up and down like crazy men, yelling, and feeling the adrenaline rush like we’d done something ourselves. I’d bet David Greene and Verron Haynes could get drunk in any bar in the state of GA w/o paying a dime to this day.
Any fan of any team or sport hopefully has their own moment like this, often many of them, where watching people that you don’t even know and don’t know you playing a game, can give you a rush close to anything else you’ll find in life. Part of it is certainly comradery, feeling like you’re part of a group, but part of it is truly unexplainable, it just is what it is.
Anyway, I’d better wrap this post up before I was poetic about the truly amazing feelings a well cooked steak can give you, though in fact it can. My one true hope in any post like this, like my boxing one, is that I can somehow convey in words how things make me actually feel, and that someone can relate.