wachet auf!

10/20/04

I’d like to make this desperate plea to all of us guys in our late 20s and into our 30s: can we please all stay friends?

I know this seems like a silly thing to ask, but now that I am gliding past my mid-30s, I fully understand the lure of inertia; it’s just so easy to choose to NOT do something. In your mind, everything becomes a hassle, and when “fun times with your friends” starts getting lumped in there, I think you have to start asking yourself what you’re put on this earth to do.

Much of it has to do with relationships: if the lure of possible sex with somebody new is taken out of the picture, then your loins approach every event with a subconscious “why bother?” You must fend off your blasé loins! Just because you’ve ended your search for a partner doesn’t mean you can’t still go to that ice hotel in Reykjavik!

Remember when we were in college, and the years after, when we used to take nonsensical trips to bizarre places after getting the day off work? Do you remember how we fantasized about creating a utopia of like-minded friends, buying land somewhere and having bi-annual get-togethers, continuing to have shared experiences so that we don’t get fat, bloated and spend what little time we had left wistfully talking about the “good old days”?

I’m here to say FUCK the good old days. Yes, they were awesome. They were also treacherous, poverty-stricken and suicidal. We should make sure our lives remain interesting enough NOW so that we don’t get puckered and slushy from stewing in the juices of our past.

Yes, I know some of us have kids. Too fucking bad. Yes, I realize your job takes up most of your time. You’re boring me. Yes, I realize I have the kind of job that allows me to drive across the country every four months. Eat me. I’m not saying we should all be attending 3-keg blowouts on weeknights. I’m saying that we should all agree to have some sort of blast TWICE A YEAR at the very least.

These twice-a-year get-togethers should be well-planned, silly, exotic, full of liquor (or AA meetings), sports-related, architecture-related, I don’t goddamn care. Just SOMETHING. ANYTHING to shove us out of the rut that we find comfortable, even if it is slowly killing us.

Before Salem came up to our Labor Day Jartacular, he said to me, “you know, I’m like you: we’d both drive 20 hours for five hours of fun.” I had to remind him I’ve driven further for much less fun. Even during my 50-hour-a-week dot-com days.

I’m not holding myself up as some paragon of spontaneity; I’ve flaked on my fair share of great times because of some pretty lame reasons. But at least I fucking try. I hold a fantastic summer party upstate every year, and still, as we all age, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth trying to get people excited. About ANYTHING.

You miss a weekend. Then you miss a party. Then you miss a barbeque. Next thing you know, you’re watching “Matlock” at a nursing home and wondered what the fuck happened to all your friends.

Take back the night, you twenty-and-thirtysomethingers! Go to parties! When someone invites you up for a weekend in a bizarre place, do it even though it might suck! TAKE UP ALL OFFERS!

0 thoughts on “wachet auf!

  1. scotty "stick up my butt"

    You jackass. I’ve been following my loins and making the extra effort to see friends so often and in such a dedicated manner, a couple of weekends ago I fell asleep in a casino bar at 6 o’clock in the afternoon without having had a single drink! The fun tank has been on empty and now endangers me, loved friends, and strangers. And people I know but aren’t so much loved as they are tolerated. Yes, I’d been the main offender from 1993 to 2002 for not going somewhere fun if it required any effort or money, but sakes alive, I’m reformed. It just wasn’t in the cards this weekend. Go sit on Jamie’s face and call him out a loser; I’m no loser. I’M NO LOSER!

    Reply
  2. CL

    Here here! I refuse to get old. I think you should actually sell this piece somewhere. It’s something people need to be reminded of.

    Reply
  3. Sean

    Yeah, don’t think Scott and I didn’t think you were talking to us. Ironically, we go out all the time, you’re the one sitting in either a car or your pumpkin patch. The two of us are willing to do anything fun, we will even entertain the notion of driving or flying half way across the country for it, but… I mean, we live in New York. I can see leaving all of your friends in Chapel Hill for a weekend in New York, the other way around is a harder sell.
    Time and money are tight, that’s just math. But, I’d love to play golf and drink scotch and make jokes about girls with you without it costing me an extra 500 dollars I don’t have.

    Reply
  4. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    OK. I am ready to create a makeshift noose and hang myself here in my cubicle of my Insurance Company Job. Or perhaps I will just off myself as I ride home on my Baltimore Beltway commute. Thanks for reminding me of all the fun I used to have, and how my social life now pales in comparison! Again, you are right on with your comments. I gotta tell you something, though. It is so much worse when you have kids. Especially when they start school. Your personal calendar will be dictated by the SCHOOL YEAR calendar! You’ll never go anywhere! In fact, you’ll never be able to have an uninterrupted phone conversation again! I long ago stopped wondering where my friends have all gone. Now, I am starting to wonder where that cute, interesting guy with the great sense of humor who wooed me and married me went! I love my husband dearly, but he has morphed from the “handsome, athletic boyfriend” into “Daddy with the gray hair who spents evenings watching ESPN (I suppose it is better than Matlock).” While your post today offers me some motivation to recapture the fun times and make new ones, I am afraid that this is just reality. We are all getting old.

    Reply
  5. hilary

    hi ian, i really appreciated your sermon for today. i must say there’s a delicate balance to strike between taking care of oneself (resting, refueling, meditating…and this is a big one for many of us: trying to keep some semblance of an artistic habit going in and around a full-time job) and getting out there to “live.” Certainly, the older i get, the more focused i become on getting enough sleep and couch and husband and quiet time. But then again, this “me time,” i think, can quickly slip into a low-level depression….and once you get into that habit of primetime tv or whatever every night, it’s really hard to break…even in nyc…which is downright embarrassing. i’ve always nourished my quiet side, and then gotten guilty and lonely all of the sudden and raced out to meet friends in a desperate attempt to feel like i’m still part of something. but friends deserve more than this. i also think, that for me, it’s not just aging, it was 9/11 that changed my lifestyle for quite some time. In the weeks after the attack, i stayed glued to the tv, unable to walk away and live my hunky dory life, and that habit stuck to me like glue for several years afterwards. I went from news coverage to sitcoms to realty tv; i couldn’t stay away; i kept turning on the tv for answers i KNEW it didn’t have, just because it’d become this awful — yet scarily reassuring — habit. it was so scary because i realized what was happening. It’s taken a long time for me to pry myself away from television’s clutches; i’m still working on it. TV is so addictive; news is so addictive; i wouldn’t underestimate its power over the slightly tired, slightly aging, x generation…even its more “aware” members. thanks for fighting for my right to party.

    Reply
  6. scruggs

    Bingo. Its too easy to get swept up in mundane obligations and not know when to come up for air. I am a fellow cubicle dweller, and my days are filled with the usual boredom and monotony (and internet surfing). Ya know, I kind of like it; its very comfortable and predictable, yet stressful, and I enjoy the challenges and funds that come with it. But that is all the more reason to find some outlet to remain festive and feeling alive.
    Yes, kids do change the picture but there are ways to adapt (though inconveniences will always pop up). We’ve taken our 16 month old on 8 plane trips so far, to NY, Chapel Hill, and beyond (hey, they fly free until they turn 2!)…a few of them spur of the moment. He’s all for it because a)though we don’t let him watch tv at home, as soon as we take off, the portable dvd player comes out, and we’re set and b) airline pretzels rock. And Baby Einstein (baby crack) kills a good hour when we’re sitting outside at the Mule.
    Don’t get me wrong, our usually quiet social life (bbq’s and happy hours in our stepford neighborhood) would make any college aged fun-lover cry to know what her future holds. 98% of the time, I’d rather hang at the park with our son than any other offering. Now, once kid #2 comes into the picture, bye bye corporate world and hello playgroups. But I’ve got a little bit of “umpf” left and won’t go down without a fight.
    And though its not “Desperate Housewives,” a few weeks ago some of us more devious moms did sneak into the neighborhood clubhouse and down cocktails til the wee hours when someone blocks away called the cops as we were being “too loud.” He ended up joining us. Sometimes you take what you can get.
    P.S. to Salem I’ve yet to meet, we will indeed make the 1hr road trip and check out the Steakhouse. its on the to do list.

    Reply
  7. Annie

    Does this mean you’re coming to Chapel Hill?
    p.s. I talked to CLAY last night, he feels really bad about missing your wedding. He & Amber bought a house in Pittsboro! And if you-all stop through here tonight we could all git together.
    p.p.s. I had my plane ticket for the Jartacular and I was NOT being a lame-ass…I guess you were talking to the guys…wait…I AM one of the guys, right?

    Reply
  8. Chris

    You are right on this one, Ian. As long as you keep moving into unknown territory anything — amazing things! — are possible.

    Reply

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