Couch surfing is an example of the gift economy; there is no monetary exchange between members and there is no expectation by hosts for future rewards. At 24 years old couch surfing is a thing of beauty, you crash with individuals who welcome you with open arms, sharing whatever needs there are and inclusion in all activities. Bartering is an awesome system, no monetary exchange, no future commitments to reciprocate but you should and I would. Couch surfing at 64 with a dog presents a few more challenges; the gift economy is still in play only the usual group allowing you on their couch are eons behind your chronological age.
Maturity has never been that big a deal for me in fact maturity is very over rated in my book. In psychology, maturity is the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner. This response is generally learned rather than instinctive. Maturity also encompasses being aware of the correct time and place to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society. So as you read the above paragraph you might realize right away something must be amiss with a 64-year-old man still enjoying couch surfing when our social norms tell him he should own a house, two cars, a dog, 3 kids, and a membership to a country club plus retiring
But lets stop for a moment and look at this man’s story, the instruction booklet was not dropped of at his house after he was born, so in the beginning life took on a different role in this mans life, school was a bore moving at a pace much to slow for this individuals mind, socializing was the driving force to get this person out of bed in the morning.
Time, rules, money were never of any interest to this 64-year-old couch surfer. I was preoccupied with what social events were coming up or what sporting activities I participating in. This stretched through all the milestones in my life, I hit the ground quickly, ran before I walked, wowed women before 1st grade and never looked back at the dust I was kicking up. Graduation from high school was a blur, but Reverend Carry hit the nail on the head when he said there are lights in the room but Tom has no idea where or what a light switch is, the was humorous to me because I didn’t care and I still don’t, I’ve learned to do most things in the dark anyhow so why waste the energy.
Got my college degree and three master degrees, for a guy who could careless about education and social norms I feel I did very well for a highly educated electrician who doesn’t know where the light sockets are. I have always followed the beat of my own drummer, most people have also taken the time to share with me how wrong I am about my choices, for me I am living my life, my dream, it’s the only one I have.
I lived by a few philosophies and they have worked quite well, the first one was never take anyone or anything including myself to seriously, life is to precious a gift to give up time and energy on things that will take up space in your mind. Second one was see a need, fill the need, beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission, great philosophy and it benefited the students much more often than it benefitted me but that’s what I was therefore the students. In the beginning this was a little tougher on me then most but then I realized shit I came in here looking for a job I can go out of here looking for a job so what’s the big deal. 3rd I must say the norms of today would see me he as a failure because I had numerous jobs rather than that one ultimate company career, and I agree but then laugh and say yep never had to live ground hogs day much either. So know one is wrong just different, to relieve peoples angst of all the chaos surrounding my choices, I can look back and say I was happily married, had 3 beautiful kids, who are functioning adults, had the house, the dogs, 2 car garage, motorcycles, vacations, tattoos, was an addict, ran 15 marathons, 1 ultra-marathon, 15 major surgeries, traveled 40 of the United States, traveled Europe, got remarried to a beautiful Belarusian woman, learning a new language, sold everything I owned, bought a Recreational Vehicle, been jailed in Russia, and started my own Ministry giving socks to the homeless of which I have given out 34,000 pairs in 5 years. With all this being said when you lose your house which is my RV there are not as many friends at 64 who open their doors to you to couch surf on. When your 24 and couch surfing your looked at as a rebel, a man following his dreams but as a 64-year-old man couch surfing your looked at as an idiot, someone who does not understand social norms or codes, who’s done poorly for himself, homeless, or just crazy but let me guarantee you I’ve seen more things, lived more life in different places, travel with the best and danced with the devil but I wouldn’t change a thing in my life for a white colored shirt and a tie know way no how.
Is it easy being a couch-surfer at 64 with a dog? ….hell no but swimming up-stream is a very tough task yet salmon do it year after year, and bees by nature of their bodies aren’t suppose to be able to fly either yet not only do they fly it seems they bring a little honey to us each and everyday.
If you know of anyone who is willing to allow a 64-year-old man on their couch for short periods of time while bringing his dog feel free to give me a shout out or if you have vacant land that you are willing to share with me to live on your property with my RV also give me a shout out. I’m easy-going, have plenty of interesting stories and enjoy company of any age.
Thanks for taking the time to let me ramble on about couch surfing.