Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Random Impulses

Generally, as most of us get older, we have a very good idea of what our likes and dislikes are.  Recently, though, I have been thinking about doing some things that I know I do not enjoy or usually want to do.  It’s an odd feeling.

As I wrote before, I don’t like to be outdoors.  Maybe I spent too much time outside when I was growing up, but the great outdoors has far too many hazards and discomforts for me to want to spend hours there.  I know there are people who love the outdoors and spend a lot of time there, and that’s all right.  They can have my share.

The odd thing is, I’ve been thinking about aboriginal Americans who lived very close to nature.  Whether their shelter was a lodge or teepee or pueblo, they had to have been aware of the elements. With a fire for heating and breezes for cooling they were right in the midst of nature.

I have been camping exactly once in my life. I was ten years old, and I remember not sleeping much and just about starving since each of us was responsible for his own food. Lately, though, I been wondering what it would be like to stay outside in a tent. I could pitch one in my back yard and not be that far away from the comforts of the indoors.  Of course, I’d have to buy almost everything I need, including a tent. I do have a sleeping bag from my daughters’ Girl Scout days. It’s a thought, but a  strange one for me. Still, I find myself thinking that being outside with nothing but a thin nylon wall between me and the outdoors would be intriguing, although I’d probably wait until spring to try it.

Then there’s traveling.  I’ve decided I don’t like to travel.  Oh, I like to see different places, particularly places with history and good restaurants and good bookstores, but actually getting there is pain.  I don’t care for driving, which is mostly monotonous and occasionally terrifying. My wife is a great driver (and a wizard parallel parker, even left-handed), so she does most of the driving when we go somewhere.  I do the navigating, and I’m good at that, except when I’m not. That’s a subject for an entire post, but not just now.  Anyhow, if there were a Star Trek-style transporter available, I’d use one, even at the risk of scrambling my molecules. To be able to be some place instantly has a huge appeal for me. And don’t even think about flying. That used to be fun and an adventure, but I don’t have to tell you what a pain it has become. No, I’m comfortable where I am, with everything I need right here.  That’s why my travel impulse is a strange one.  I’d like to fly around the world.  I’m not talking about fly around the world non-stop or on one tank of gas. What I’m thinking would be fun would be to fly around the world using scheduled flights.  I’ve checked and it’s possible.  It would take about three days.  I think I would like to go business class since I would plan to be on an airplane most of the time.  I wouldn’t even leave the airports or clear customs—I would just go right on to the next flight. This is even crazier when I consider that I am mildly claustrophobic. That’s why business class.  I could leave on a Friday and be back Monday if my calculations are correct.  It would be cool to say I had done it.

Then, I’ve been having an impulse lately to have another career.  That’s not that unusual for an early retiree like me, but I’m talking about an entirely different career. When I was in my early teens I wanted to be a rocket scientist. (I was too tall to be an astronaut then.) What dissuaded me from this career path was the sad reality that I am not very good at math, and math is important to being a rocket scientist. My impulse is to take science and math classes and earn a degree in astronautical engineering. I figure with the coursework I’ve done already I can skip the core classes and things like phys ed and go right on to advanced science classes. It would be a whole lot easier for me to earn an M.F.A. in creative writing, but becoming a rocket scientist in my 60’s sounds much more appealing, even if I am probably worse at math than I was in high school. Grandma Moses started painting when she was in her 80’s, so maybe I do have a future with NASA.

So I have these random impulses, but I’ve found if I lie down for a while, they soon pass.


  1. Oh don't let your impulses pass, Dan, if you can afford to explore them!! Do whatever your ADHD heart inspires you to do, even if it's weird.

    As for the outdoors, I used to spend a lot more time hiking than I do now. I think it's partly because I get bored now--I don't know why. Must be that I can't see as much when I walk because I walk slowly. In better weather, I started biking trails, and I really enjoyed the change. The breeze and chance to stop and look at new places was wonderful. But it's not bike riding weather, and when we have had those odd days of warmth, I felt I owed it to my dog to give her a longer walk.

    I used to tent camp a LOT when I was younger. I've done it in the pouring rain, in extreme heat and in nice weather. I've done it in the mountains, near the ocean, in national forests and in back yards. Now, it hurts to try to sleep on anything hard and my sinuses kill me, so we wimp out in cabins, but it's a different kind of nice, and certainly more comfortable.

    Personally, flying around the world without getting off the plane sounds like my idea of hell. But if you want to do it just to say you did it, well then, go for it.

    If we ever get time and money, I want to travel. El Salvador, India and Rome are at the top of my list. And I'd like to go back to Bar Harbor. Hubby is NOT interested in Central America or India, but he seems to like the idea of Rome and Bar Harbor, as well as Australia and San Diego. I'm not particularly interested in those areas, though I know I would love the chance to see them once I was there with him. Some alone time with him on a tropical island also would be awesome, and that is something we've both talked about.

    For my solo, educational travel, I would prefer being with real people so I could understand the culture and get to know our international brothers and sisters more. It might be uncomfortable (heat and diet being my biggest challenges) but it would be worth it. I also want to learn Spanish.

    Hubby and I recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary at Cove Haven resort in PA. I talked his ear off for three hours on the way up! LOL! It's so rare that we have time and money to do stuff like that. Maybe on spring break we will get to use his timeshare. We also spent a weekend on Tangier Island this summer. What a great adventure it was!

    My point is, if you can do it, DO IT! There is so much to see, and you can't get it all virtually. We seem to do so much by computer because the stress and demands of the world keep us anchored and exhausted. Set yourself free, Dan!

  2. I agree with Katherine. Don't let your impulses pass. If not now, when? I didn't think I'd be researching cancer now, after a career in computers, but I put it on my 5-year plan, and here it is.
    Don't waste your time thinking about things that other people want to do. If you want to fly around the world in three days, because you can, wouldn't that be cool. Imagine the conversations. "What did you do last weekend?" "I flew around the world." "You're joking, right?" "Nope. I checked the schedules to see if it was possible and it was, so I did it." "Wow!"

    Life is short. Constrained only by your imagination, which you have plenty of.