“I’ll never drink again,” you manage to cackle to your buddy passed out beside you. You glance ever so blurry eyed down your button up to take in the scenery. Yes you are still wearing the get up you raged in last night, complete with shoes, jacket and lack of covers. You must still be drunk because the after effects of jager bombs has yet to send your head spinning or stomach lurching. You won’t be getting out of bed for the rest of the day unless someone gets you a bloody mary quick. Might as well keep going rather than suffer. The thought of a greasy brunch makes you drool a little.
We have all been there. All night benders designed to get you high for a brief hair tossing, head banging, prowling blip of time only to careen you face first into a brick wall in the AM. Binge drinking at it’s finest.
Unless you are the boy in the bubble, alcohol or the peer pressure associated with it has seeped into your life. What is with this obsession of getting wasted? Not only wasted but strung out on drugs as well.
When I was a teenager alcohol was a big deal. Throwing a party at sixteen was outrageous. Today kids are not only drinking from early ages, but popping drugs of all kinds. It’s not uncommon to find a 17 yr old girl strung out on coke or E hobbling home from a party where she slept with two different guys. What has happened to good parenting and society at large? Is this the new acceptable norm? More importantly what is so wrong with people’s reality that they have to keep escaping it?
Don’t get me wrong, I am no saint in this department. I started drinking at the ripe ole’ age of 16 followed by a handful of years binge drinking and experimenting with a few drugs. Back then it’s what everyone was doing. I was “normal.” Fitting into my social groups perfectly and soon was one of the most popular people in school. Then college came and it was crackdown time. Turning 21 was completely uneventful. I seemed to have gotten it out of my system. Bored to tears with the bar scene and the ridiculous games between the sexes. I quit drinking except for special occasions and most recently went completely sober for 3 months. A wealth of energy, life, and wonderful new passions and people filled the void. I blossomed.
I guess part of me figured this was part of maturing, part of becoming an adult. I was shocked and appalled to find that affluent mid thirty year olds I knew kept plugging away in the party scene with no sign of slowing down. They’d go to their shit finance jobs during the day only to drown their misery in booze that night. Their lack of fulfillment in life disappeared with drugs. Being an adult isn’t “fun.”
I’ve heard all the excuses. “It’s about the experience. The mind opening experience you can get on drugs like E and Acid.” ( The consciousness leaping that one can achieve through mediation). “Weed mellows me out, and besides I only do it socially.” (Which means you just want to fit in) and my favorite…”Drinks de-stress me.” Which means you can’t sleep or stop your mind from thinking without a substance. Does anyone else see a problem with this? A dependency on a substance to “enjoy” life.
We are born with everything we will ever need. You don’t need to be high to have a good time. Life is enough, you are enough. You can be a kid again. it just takes a rewiring of your attitude toward the present.
Why do I bring up such a tough issue? One that I could write a book on? Because since traveling I have been battling with peer pressure and trying to fit in with people from all over the world. What I’ve discovered is that I am a rarity. An outsider at the age of 24. Everyone my age, especially fellow backpackers rage the vast majority of the time. It seems young adults from all over the globe actually rage harder than back home in SF. I worked in the bar scene so I saw a lot of the extent of use. It’s nothing compared to the stories that come out of the Germans, English, Irish and Spanish. Binge weeks and months on Ibiza (the worlds most well known party hot spot) at least once a year are common place. Smoking is rampant. Most starting as young as 12. Three plus nights of blacking out, another commonality. Complaints of liver pains, and coughing up blood coming from 25 year olds. That is not living. That is killing yourself for nothing.
But what is a twenty something to do when all music and media glorifies the Hollywood lifestyle of drugs, sex and rock and roll. When every girl in a mag looks like a strung out coke whore? Is that who you want your future daughter to idolize, because they will. I worry about the Paris Hilton wannabees. A generation of bimbo’s scouring the planet for rich men to take care of them. What is the purpose of a life like that? What are you contributing to the greater good of humanity. It’s a waste of life.
As MGMT questions in the Time To Pretend lyrics…
“This is our decision to live fast and die young.
We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun.
Yeah it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?”
My answer: no. You don’t have to wake up for the morning commute. It is not one or the other. Life is not black or white. It’s completely gray. You create of it what you want. The choice is yours and only yours to make. Peer pressure aside. Those who make the largest impact are those that are strong enough to be different. To have self control when everyone else is popping E, to hold off on that fourth drink because you actually want to enjoy a Sunday without a hangover.
When and if you do you’ll find you have a massive effect on others. When you stand your ground is when you reveal those who want the same. The once silent hands raise in approval and step up next to you on the platform of conscious thinking. Those people will be your true friends. As I have found through meeting hundreds of people over the last few months, healthy living standards rub off and inspire others. My roommates are now getting up early to go for a run, or asking me for stretches they can do to feel better in their bodies. Me being me has changed their perspective. People want to be epic they just don’t know how in a world where they have to constantly swim upstream.
Your Job: Rub off on other people in a positive way today. Smile, crack a joke, offer a hand, or inspire someone to keep swimming against the norm. We effect each other more than we’ll ever truly realize.