The blog with no pictures: On the gathering of moss

January 23, 2020

I do not consider myself an adventurer, but I do admit to an impulsive nature. The two aren’t unrelated, mind you. It’s just that the adventurer winds up in a National Geographic Special, while the impulsive tends to be featured on America’s Funniest Videos or a segment of Live P.D.

“In the case of impulse, I always know something like that (participating in a triathlon, especially the drowning portion of it) will always happen again.”


There have been times in my life where impulse and adventure coincided, if not collided. I’ve learned how to differentiate the two. In the case of adventure, I always know nothing like that (working on a fishing boat in Ireland, for instance) will ever happen again. In the case of impulse, I always know something like that (participating in a triathlon, especially the drowning portion of it) will always happen again. That’s why this blog is about how embracing advancing age is the best prescription for spurning adventure and impulse.

There’s a time in our life when things like skydiving, hang gliding, ziplining, rock climbing, cliff diving, reading War and Peace and attending the Ice Capades feed that youthful recklessness that might nevertheless be accurately defined as adventure. In our later years, though, those same experiences are suitably regarded as impulses to be sensibly resisted. (Though Disney on Ice Presents Frozen, The Book With No Pictures and the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyland might all find its way into certain forms of active senior living.)

The trick is, as I am learning, is to redefine what otherwise would be seen as loafishly sedentary and reclusive into something expansively transcending and transformative. For example, for both physical injury and severe colds or flu, complete rest is prescribed. So when questioned (or accused), my day-long slouch on the couch can be justified as treating a joint injury (real or anticipated) or fending off the probability of illness (especially following a visit with school or day-care aged grandchildren).

Admittedly, you can’t be sick or injured all the time, as tempting a ploy as that is. The modern, active, adept and insightful female (read: Carol) comes equipped with the sensors necessary to detect the inertia of the leisurely retired. I’ve been able to buy blocks of wasted time by associating staring at the ceiling with “stuck for a good idea to write about.” (Regular readers of this blog will attest to the rarity in which those good ideas become unstuck.)

I’ve also learned that remaining in my jogging pants past noon is a dead giveaway there is nothing on my plate for the afternoon. Throwing on a pair of jeans and a shirt suitable for wearing outside the home usually has the effect of suggesting a chore, errand or haircut is in the offing. If I can stretch that camouflage till sunset, then the result is that I’ve merely dressed for Happy Hour.

When you’ve reduced the sense of adventure or impulse to whatever unexplored corners of the earth that lie between the couch and the bedroom, and have successfully fended off all the dangers and obstacles that lurk therein, such as making the bed, clearing the dishwasher, taking out the trash (me included) and putting on shoes “Are you going out?!?”; “No, my feet are cold.”), you’ve climbed your Everest and sailed your seven seas. So sit, take a load off and read a good book.

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