It is intriguing when you take a step back and look at the world from the outside. Our society is deeply built and consists entirely on the continued and morphing world of entertainment, whether it exists on the basic of performances and presentations or sport and activities. We want to be entertained.
Growing up my brother and I spent long hours in the car with my parents travelling all around Australia. We spent school holidays on some of the largest cattle stations in the country. Once we drove from Melbourne to the Kimberly’s and down through Western Australia and home. For us entertainment was self-managed. We had no iPods or Gameboys, we didn’t have an iPad to watch movies. All we had were ourselves. And a Timetables cassette tape and a slow literacy game on a portable device.
For hours on end I would stare out of the window and invent stories in my head. If we were lucky enough we could fall asleep, but not stretch past the middle line as so conveniently divided by my brother. But for the most part the only entertainment we had was the repeating Country and Western songs on Dad’s cassette.
Boredom did not exist – or so we were told. [Tweet this!]
The world of today is vastly different from the world in which we grew up in. We, the Millennials have adopted technology into our lives like our first child. We live and breathe the smartphone, tablets and laptops. We are connected.
Entertainment of the past consisted of people attending live shows or listening to Radio Plays. Imagination was essential. It was entirely up to you to entertain yourself given the means at your disposal. Freedom at is core.
Throughout my teenage years, I was fairly rebellious. Although I was intelligent enough to have a game plan that would allow me to succeed undetected. I figured that if I managed to continuously get good grades and keep my parents happy by pretending that I was making the ‘right’ decisions, they wouldn’t think twice that I might be running around behind their backs sneaking out and drinking. Moreover, I never really was where I said I was.
Dangerous and stupid, but nothing outside of anything a normal teenager would engage in. Again I relied on keeping up with my homework and grades so that there would be no reasons to be suspicious of my balancing act of partying and studying.
To the most part, my parents weren’t entirely in the dark. They just knew part of the story. The part I had decided to expose, and the part that they would be happy to hear. [Tweet this!]
Turning 16 I had come across a great realisation. As intuitive thinker, I took at look at the life that I was living and how exactly it made me feel. We spent our weekends walking through the suburbs in Mytikos, a USA jumper and a six pack of Barcardi Breezers. I had come to the conclusion that drinking a six pack every weekend was sucking my wallet dry of cash and causing me to wake up feeling hung over. So with that, I gave up.
As a 16 year old I had analysed in it’s entirely the culture of alcohol consumption and the immediate effects on my wellbeing. I had come to the conclusion that drinking these sugary drinks was creating no benefit in my life and I wasn’t having any more fun under the influence.
It was at this point that I had realised that the liquid courage that so many others relied on was doing nothing to me. I was already arrogantly confident and had the ability to make fun out of nothing. My epiphany highlighted that I was happy just being a part of the action without being inebriated.
Not long after I turned 18, and as soon as I had the choice between driving my car and drinking, I would always choose my car. Fantastic for those friends who always had a personal taxi to take them to and from places, and a negative for me who realised that I was getting extremely used by these people.
Ten years on since I first got my license, and I am still committing to a 95% rule of not drinking. Yes, I enjoy the occasional Espresso Martini and a glass of wine on a hot day. But that is about it. If I drink it is because I feel thirsty, I never drink to get drunk.
The point I am trying to make here is that you do not need alcohol to have a good time. I am often confused for being “wasted” by those around me, who watch my incredibly smooth and erratic dance moves. That my confidence is drawn from not caring what other people think about me.
And that if you can’t entertain yourself without substance, then it is you that in fact lacks substance. [Tweet this!]
The hardest part about being a non-drinker is that you sit outside the drunkard world. That you can sometimes be seen as boring or that you just don’t get it. In reality I actually find it hard to have fun if my friends are not drinking. Rarely do I find another individual that is that free spirited enough that substance is not required.
In addition, I do also have ‘rules of engagement’ for living in an influenced culture. I have come to the conclusion that there is a stage in the night where people go from ‘happy drinker’ to ‘sloppy drunk’. That is precisely 2.30am. Past 2.30am you will find that most people are unable to have simple conversations with you. It is also the time for the dance floor creep to mosey over and try to construct a sentence of spit into your ear.
For me, choosing not to drink is a choice decided only by enjoyment. It does not entertain me like what it does to others. If anything, alcohol only makes me more introverted and forces me inside my head. I become critical of myself and paranoid about what people think about me. All of which as a sober person I do not have.
Australians rely heavily on this ‘drinking culture’ it is everywhere. It is unavoidable. We eat and we drink. It is the central point for entertainment venues and for most businesses the biggest percentage of profit. The need to engage and escape from our mundane lives is what pushes us through our weekdays. And what I hate the most is the surprise on people’s faces when they say “wait, don’t you drink?”
I do not have a contagious disease, I just do not enjoy drinking.
Ideally I would love to see the world move past a focus on substance and back to the very core in which we started from. Alike those two kids sitting in the back of the Bronco, we all have the right to dream. Our imagination is the single most powerful talent that we have and it pains me to see so much of it squashed by an influenced culture.
“Free yourself from the habits of the mainstream.” [Tweet this!]