ERRR! ERRR! ERRR! ERRR!
Ughhh 7:00 a.m. You roll over and slam your fist down on the alarm clock. You climb out of bed and open the window, letting in a warm summer breeze. You soak it in for a moment while you can, before your second alarm, set for 7:02 goes off. You turn off the other three alarms you set at two-minute intervals.
Not everybody can wake up with the sun in a cabin in the woods each summer’s morn. Most of us, ironically, cannot afford to live the life of a simple woodsman. The issue isn’t that you cannot do without the luxuries of the latest technology or finest Scotch, it’s that you got conned into accumulating a huge student debt, and, if you don’t work to pay it off, you’ll end up in jail. And you can’t go to jail. You know what guys like you do to people in jail? Beat them up for challenging your masculinity. And then that turns into a longer sentence and even more fisticuffs, and a feedback loop is created with no end in sight but a death behind bars… So, yeah, just avoid that and pay off your student loans. Those expenses and the need to work in order to put clothes on your table and food on your back have forced you into the routine that you promised your punk teenage self that you would never succumb to: the dreaded 9:00 to 5:00.
Your 9:00 to 5:00 isn’t going anywhere, but summer will be gone before you know it. However, just because ten hours of your day are consumed by work (accounting for travel and sulk time) and eight hours by sleep (for this is when beards do their best growing), does not mean you cannot get the most out of your summer. Just like your face, this summer you should B.E.A.R.D. In this case, B.E.A.R.D. stands for: Bro-out, Exercise, Adventure, Relax, and Drink.
“Bro,” short for “brother,” and “out,” correctly used without modification or abbreviation, are words that are best employed when in conjunction with each other to form the term meaning “to spend time with your closest friends.” Remember the days of your youth? School’s out, and you spent less time at your own house than your friends’, as you stayed up late into the night playing kick-the-can and lighting things on fire. Not a care in the world for tomorrow, just living in the moment… Now if you do that, you’ll likely be fired for a pattern of tardiness and falling asleep on the job.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t spend as much time with your friends as you can, just that you set responsible limits. When you were young, you felt like you needed to get every ounce of fun out of every minute of summer, because it would be gone before you knew it. Now you know that summer comes around every year, and the friends you share your summer evenings with are there to stay; if they were not, you wouldn’t waste your time being with them in the first place. So have that barbecue, drink those beers, light that fire, have those laughs, but get yourself some rest so that you don’t get fired. Because, if you get fired, you can no longer afford steaks and charcoal and beer.
Winter is over and you can no longer hide your figure under bulky sweaters. We are not as lucky as our grandfathers; due to Obama’s inactivity towards preventing global warming (thanks!), we do not get a “spring” for transitioning our body from pound-packing hibernation mode to its chiseled summer glory. Especially here in the Midwest, winter reluctantly yields directly to summer sometime in mid-June, hardly allowing us time to pack away our winter boots before we need to dig for our swimsuits.
It’s beach season baby! The classic summertime activity, fun for all ages. But are you ready? The abrupt change in priorities, from not succumbing to the harsh elements of winter to not succumbing to the harsh feelings of dejection as women and children flee from your figure at the beach necessitates a shift from a pig-out regiment to a workout regiment. A good test to see if you are physically fit enough to make the impression upon women and lesser men is seeing if you can do pushups with them standing on your back. If you can, you are ready to lay on the beach and allow the sun to gaze upon your body.
The true worth of a man can be measured by how he handles confrontation. Since nobody would be foolish enough to confront you, and you are not so petty as to confront lesser men, you must look to the wild for your challenge. With winter’s passing, you are forced further and further from your home to find a semblance of natural dangers (unless you are one of the few who live in cabins in the woods, like earlier mentioned. If you are, then what are you doing reading this? You obviously already know how to get the most out of life, much less out of summer). Adventures should be open-ended; you should not know when you will return, and you should always allow yourself a time cushion of at least a day in case you have to make the return journey on foot, carrying a wounded foal to safety on your back.
Ok, so maybe your adventures won’t look like a scene from The Reverant, but you should embrace the challenges you face, welcome the things that go wrong. These are what memories are made of and what friendships are solidified by. You may starve, sweat, and bleed with your companions and hate them for it at the time, but you won’t be able to think about anything else when you’re stuck in your cubicle all winter.
A reminder about finding adventure in the wild. Do not kill a wild beast, only wrestle it into submission, teach it a lesson; maybe next time it will be a fairer fight.
“The greatest victory is turning an enemy into an ally.”
Breathe in… Breathe out… This is an activity no longer reserved solely for survival. Many people find this an enjoyable pastime in itself, but like all things (save whiskey), enjoy it in moderation. Don’t go overboard on it, for it can make you soft, and the next time you are taking it to a shark on ITS terms, you may not have breath enough to utter a clever nautical one liner before surfacing victorious.
Since your time is limited and we are only four acronymical letters through your B.E.A.R.D., we better move on to the most versatile of them all…
Alcohol: the product of the world’s oldest profession, brewing. Nothing reduces the inhibitions of a bro session, recovers the body from working out, adds an extra element of danger to an adventure, or enhances relaxation quite like a sifter of Lagavulin, a pint of Murphy’s Millennium Brew, or a jar of that old moonshine you found in your great-uncle’s basement last summer when you helped him move into a home, the one labeled “combusts under sunlight.” It’s the perfect pick-me-up after work and a perfect slow-me-down before bed. However you take yours, be sure to do so outside. Be it in a hammock or around a campfire or a hammock next to a campfire or a hammock on fire, welcome summer, your old friend, with a toast, and never stop toasting (unless you’re in the hammock that’s on fire; then you should do something about that as soon as ASAP as possible).
Your 9:00 to 5:00 isn’t going anywhere, but summer is right around the corner. Don’t be caught B.E.A.R.D.less. Have a plan. Take action. Carpe every diem.