“We choose to go to the moon in this deCADE and do the otha’ thangs!
Not becahz they ah’ easy – but because they ah’ hah’d!”
(See below for actual, OG, non-racist-against-Northerners quote):
For whatever reason this line always comes to mind when I’m intentionally putting extra ladles full of effort helpings on my plate – whether it’s more work, running out on a rocky terrain, or seeing how much I can get done before the microwave timer sounds off. But there’s another time this quote gets bellowed over my brain’s P.A. system: when I’m heading somewhere new. Can I work from home? Yes, but I’d rather leave home to do it in a café. Can I jog at the trail near me? Yes, but I’d rather drive half an hour a way to run for the same amount of time.
What’s with the restlessness? Why must I wander toward novelty and seek challenges? Why is it that when I’m standing and speaking with someone, I can’t stop moving around like Mortal Combat character waiting to spar? Well, according to science, there may indeed be such thing as a “restlessness” gene – actually a variation (called 7R) of a gene we already have (DRD4). And it’s the same thing that made our ancestors travel (most likely ‘cause they had to – to forage and flee from poor weather or predators.)
In fact there is a mutation that pops up frequently in such discussions: a variant of a gene called DRD4, which helps control dopamine, a chemical brain messenger important in learning and reward. Researchers have repeatedly tied the variant, known as DRD4-7R and carried by roughly 20 percent of all humans, to curiosity and restlessness. Dozens of human studies have found that 7R makes people more likely to take risks; explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities; and generally embrace movement, change, and adventure. Studies in animals simulating 7R’s actions suggest it increases their taste for both movement and novelty. (Not incidentally, it is also closely associated with ADHD.)
Movement? Novelty? Curiosity? Food?
That whole list sounds like my Grindr profile. (Not sure if that joke works ’cause also not sure if Grindr has profiles)
But it does make sense this gene’s tied to dopamine – any combo of these things is a brain orgy level: Caligula.
Sure, I may not ever get to go to the moon. (#facts)
Hell, I’ve yet to even pop my passport’s cherry – funds simply won’t allow it ATM (#zing because my ATM machine laughs at me whenever I enter PIN). So, mayhaps that’s why I do my best to compensate by marrying the two – novelty and challenge. Like doing hard work – but doing it somewhere different from the familiar locales. Or jogging a different trail every day – but going where there are plenty of opportunities for mother nature to murder me if I’m not bringing my A game. And the thing is – if it’s in my DNA now, it wasn’t always there. I’m a big believer in the power of epigenetics. Especially since this marrying of novelty and challenge was a conjoined-twin love child only conceived and born following my #30daysofnewthings challenge. Can you change your habits to turn on genes? Maybe. (Probably.) Am I a card carrying member of the 7R variant club? Who knows. (Who cares?) All’s I know is that something big’s changed for me since fertilizing the novelty crops in my neural network plantation. So, till I can find a way to stowaway on the next rocket bound for our lunar rock, I’ll be scouring this terrestrial one to indulge my restlessness while also “doing the other things”.
Becahz they ah’ hah’d.