Huh? That wasn't a question.
"If I'm not doing something extreme, I become depressed. I have low dopamine. Extreme sports or adventures raise my dopamine level."
I don't know one biochemical from another, but the basic idea...yes, it has merit. I was feeling it today, walking to the train feeling so lackadaisical from routine and work. Do I self-medicate through novelty? Travel, balloon-riding, bag-sewing...when I don't find novelty or innovation, I fall into a kind of mild despair.
Kelly and I were at the Rubin Museum of Art, in the Q&A part of writer/photographer Alison Wright's promotional reading of her new book, Learning to Breathe. I bought the book but haven't read it yet. She'd written an amazing article a few years ago, which became the basis for this book.
Alison Wright was in a horrific bus accident while traveling in Laos some years back. She was so close to dying. Here, don't let me retell it. Just go read the articles.
When the event ended, I asked the dopamine-guy to explain further. To my disappointment, he was all about extreme sports. Kayaking, parachuting, biking in Manhattan. That's not what I do. Same idea, though.
And then I read this passage in God's Middle Finger, by Richard Grant. "Yes," I thought. "That's exactly how I would phrase it. I'm not proud of it, but that fits."
But I was prepared to stake my personal safety for a different reward: the heightened awareness, the thrill of the unfamiliar and the melting away of boredom that comes with going to dangerous places where I didn't belong. And I was beginning to wonder if this too was a vice.