I lived in Nashville, Tennessee for the first 5 months of 2022, and getting drunk on my couch was the highlight of most of my weeks there.
That’s how much I hated that place.
I’d get blackout drunk by myself watching Netflix twice a week because nothing else in that city made my dopamine flow so strongly.
(I got through 2.5 seasons of Arrow, all of Inside Job, all of some Italian animated series I’m blanking on the name of, season 7 of Legends of Tomorrow + season 1 and half of season 2 for old time’s sake, and at least a few movies while blasted on White Claw)
Here’s a list of reasons I hated Nashville:
A downtown packed with tourists, who’d swarm like ants between all the carbon-copy bars playing songs from the 80s. These ants packed the shopping districts too, bored families and couples and groups of identically-dressed blonde girls looking for a cookie-cutter getaway that checks the boxes. Segregation everywhere else – you’ve got the upper-middle-class white yuppie transplant neighborhood, the poor black people neighborhood, the cliquey college kid neighborhoods, the wealthy local neighborhood… And both actual shopping malls were over an hour away from my place by bus. (I don’t have a car, I know, I’m lame)
Nightlife wasn’t great either. I went out in East Nashville one night, and everyone there was ugly. Broadway is 99.9999% tourists, so all I could do there was go through the motions of my “fun party guy” persona with people I didn’t want to be around anyway. No social circle game to be done there. I was just looking for hot DTF 21-year-old female tourists.
Also, if I took a shot for every fucking bachelorette party I’d see on a typical Nashville day, my lifeless body would be sprawled out on the Broadway sidewalk.
The music scene there’s BIG, and while I enjoyed the performances I went to, that scene simply wasn’t for me, in terms of alignment (I don’t have much musical talent) and subjective taste (I’m more an alt-rock, punk rock, EDM, house, metal type of guy, I’m not so into country or indie-pop)
The cafes, the cigar lounge, the butcher shop right beside my house, and the gym were the only redeeming qualities of this “place”. That and how cheap the rent was of the house I lived in. I got into the best shape of my life at that gym, even if I was getting drunk as frequently as I used to during a sad, sexually frustrated season of my life back in college. I spent a lot of time at these cafes + cigar lounge doing business things and stuff, but I didn’t meet anyone I clicked super deeply with.
Now I’m based in Boulder, Colorado.
It’s 5km by 10km according to Google Maps. Nashville’s more like 20×20. And I like it here A LOT.
The downtown mall, Pearl Street, is swarmed by tourists, but strangely, I don’t mind it. The street performers here have soul, the buildings too, and I’ve found some spots nearby that I like hanging out at. The vibe here feels like a vibe, like Boulder is an actual PLACE with a personality, not just a bunch of businesses profiting off tourists seeking cheap novelty. Plus I’ve got a bit of a social life going, whereas in Nashville, the only people I’d hang out with were my roommates + people they knew who I’d incidentally meet.
Now if you don’t already know what my current adventure’s like, I left my hometown of London, Ontario, Canada at the end of October last year for political, personal, logistic, sexual, adventurous, spiritual reasons. I spent a week in Chicago, then 2 months in Miami, 5 months in Nashville, now I’m finishing up my third month in Boulder, and if all goes to plan, I’m staying here.
I’m currently staying at a hotel in Denver for the week while I’m between apartments, and hoo boy, I can’t be arsed to do anything in Denver. It’s like Nashville, but worse. Big fucking city without much personality. You need a car to get anywhere quickly. “Exploring downtown” sucked the life out of me. Tourists pushing their suitcases everywhere. No locals besides all the business’ employees. Boring lifeless architecture. No real beauty, just functionality. I couldn’t tell where all the businesses and restaurants and stuff were, just glancing around. Even taking a shit in the hotel bathroom was more fun than walking among those skyscrapers.
So here’s what I’ve always known, that’s been confirmed by my travels this past year:
The more walkable a city is, the more life force it has.
Miami and Chicago had a ton of energy compared to Nashville and Denver, regardless of how many people were lining the streets. Nashville’s Broadway and Gulch would always be packed with tourists, and not have any real life to them.
Yet a typical day walking through Brickell (Miami’s financial district), even when it was only moderately populated by pedestrians, would be invigorating and inspiring.
Even when I walked through a cloudy and dreary downtown Chicago seeing the sights, I still felt like I was on an adventure, not simply passing through.
In Miami, my favorite cigar lounge, my day job, the cafes where I’d work on business stuff, the mall, and a whole bunch of restaurants and other things were tightly packed together. The beach was walking distance from every roof I’d be sleeping under, and I had a ton of walks + workouts in the sun there.
Now before I ramble too long about my adventures that you may or may not give a shit about, you may be asking:
WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH DATING ??
I sharpened my edge with dating back when I went to university in Ottawa, Ontario.
I entered that world a typical modern guy psychologically – in my head 24/7, afraid of tension, idealizing girls and being ignorant of their shadow, and waiting to settle down with the first 7 who was willing to touch my dick and hear me rant about how depressed I was.
By the time I left that magical city 3 years later, I wasn’t all the way there with this edge of mine, but I could approach. I could create tension. I could get out of my head sexually. I had some experience, enough to somewhat know what I truly desire and deserve in a lady. I was also extremely intimate with women’s dark side… and my own 😉
Logistically, Ottawa was an extremely easy city to date in. Emotionally and psychologically, not so much, but you could say that about any city in North America.
I credit a ton of my learning experiences back in my college days to the fact that like my days in Brickell, 80% of my life took place in one square kilometer. (one and a half if we’re pushing it) The roofs I’d live under, my friends’ places, the university campus, the mall, the park, and an abundance of pretty sights to see WERE ALL TIGHTLY PACKED TOGETHER.
Compare anxious, inexperienced me’s lifestyle to that of a stronger, more confident, more integrated version of myself in Nashville. I didn’t date at all there. Getting to my favorite spots and back took a literal hour of bussing each way, and getting to the gym and back was half an hour each way. I did only FOUR daytime approaches my whole 5 months there, whereas I can’t be arsed to count how many I did during my 2 months in Miami, and I’ve done more than four in Boulder so far.
No matter how on-point your biochemistry, psychology, game, and overall spirit are, if your positioning and logistics are tough to work with… You can say goodbye to any chance of a dating life, even if you’re objectively a high-quality guy.
I wasn’t depressed in Nashville. My inner work was at the point where even sleeping on a restaurant patio with a backpack’s worth of stuff couldn’t get me down. But I did drift into apathy for a bit, relapse with porn frequently, and feel unable to get a social life going no matter what. The “cool people” in Nashville were either artsy hipsters, vapid college kids, or most of all, musicians.
My lifestyle there got me lonely and longing.
Longing for Ottawa, especially.
I’m often nostalgic for my Ottawa days. Not for any specific people. They’ve played their part in my life and I’ve learnt what I needed to from them. Nor for who I used to be; he was an unforged blade. I’m many times sharper now.
I’m nostalgic for the sense of adventure and opportunity. For feeling like I’m in a COMPLETE WORLD, not just commuting between different unintegrated pieces of it.
Nowhere did I get that more than in Ottawa.
Planning dates out was easy. The girls I’d want to be with and I would all hang out in the same square kilometer every day, if not live in the same building or neighborhood. Getting coffee, then walking around somewhere, exploring the mall or a park, or somewhere on campus was EASY, and so was going back to one of our places if we were in the mood 😉
Parties had amazing logistics too. Most of them were less than a 15 minute walk from my place, and all my favorite bars were in the same district, only a 20 minute walk from where I lived.
Inside that square kilometer was an abundant universe where I lived a ton, learnt a ton, and had many life-changing experiences.
I miss it more than anything.
Why college is the best years of your life
I’m sure you’ve heard this one.
“Your college years are the best years of your life”
You party while staying on top of your schoolwork, then it’s off to a big boy or big girl job for ya, eh? College is where you live your youth to the fullest before settling into mundane Real Adult™ life that’s only responsibility after responsibility, right?
Or is it because you’re experiencing more first times than in any other stage of your life? Everything about adult life and all its ups and downs is new and novel, and as a legal-adult kid with minimal responsibilities, the entire world is potentially yours for the taking?
Valid explanations, BUT
I have a tough time disagreeing with that statement for a different reason.
For most people, college is the only time in their adulthood where they live a truly walkable lifestyle, where your entire life is concentrated into one little community where you’re around people your age, in your stage of life 24/7.
Instead of being separated from the abundance of life by long stretches of purely functional streets and skyscrapers, highways and freeways, and other liminal spaces.
Here’s a probable reason for why you’re lonely and find it hard to build up a social life or a dating life.
Most big American cities are built for cars, not for people.
Especially if you don’t have a car, this urban planning does damage to your sense of connection and community. To the extent that it’s possible to get an abundant lifestyle if you’re not in school, this requires social circle game. Knowing people who know people. Getting invited to parties or nights out.
If you don’t have that sort of network in a big unwalkable city already, breaking into one can feel discouraging, even impossible. Opportunities to organically meet people can be scarce, even if you go to parks, even if you hang out at cafes, even if you explore the nightlife. Most high-quality people are either at work or in a car or at private social gatherings.
If you prefer vibing, hanging out, and naturally meeting people through spontaneous, unplanned activities, rather than organized clubs and classes and stuff, then big American cities built for cars will disappoint you.
So if your relationships aren’t where you want them to be, it may not be a fault in who you are.
You may just be living in an unwalkable city.
How to have the “college experience” without blowing 100 grand on tuition
If you’ve lived in a certain city for a few months, and your attempts to meet people haven’t moved you forward one bit, it’s time to move.
Look brother, if you’re working on yourself, if you’re doing the outer and inner work to become your highest self, and you’re STILL not meeting any potential mates or any potential mates who you feel a vibe with…
If Fate is sabotaging every path forward you consider…
You’ve outgrown your current environment, and you’ll stagnate if you don’t move on to a new one.
This is true for cities, for relationships, and for life purposes.
As much as I personally miss Ottawa, I outgrew it. At first, I fought this. I unsuccessfully attempted another semester in school before I dropped out for good. I tried reconnecting with friends who’d moved on from me. I tried building up a new life for myself in the same city, approaching people, making connections, looking for a rewarding day job… Only to stay at Square 1 the whole time.
I was trying to re-create prior edges of mine rather than move on to new ones.
I was in grief for years after my seasons in Ottawa had run their course, and I was living at home back in London working hard, waiting for this business to get off the ground.
In late 2019 and early 2020, my life was moving forward. I was constantly in Flow, on my edge again. Then a certain world-changing event happened, and I was in captivity for the next year and a half, losing my fucking mind until I raised my vibration and began doing inner child work.
Even after that, I’d miss my college lifestyle more than anything.
The “college experience” was what it was because we were on our EDGE. I missed the feeling of being on my edge in all domains. I missed the sheer tension, the life force pulsing through my veins, being surrounded by opportunities with fitness, career, and girls my age. Back in university, opportunities for risk and reward were around every corner, seemingly more abundant than they are now, because I hadn’t explored them and learnt how it all works yet. Along with which ones are and aren’t in alignment with me and my life path.
Have you ever walked through a college campus in September? The energy is HIGH. The tension of possibility is flooding the air. Hundreds, possibly thousands of young men and young women are getting on their edge, concentrated in one place.
But those kids’ edge is theirs, not yours. Even if their energy is palpable.
How do you get this “college experience” back without actually going back to college?
You’re not going to get your edge back by re-creating a prior one.
If I was to live my fantasy of going back to 2016 knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t be an ubermensch crushing everything in my life and winning everyone over. I would be bored out of my mind. Unchallenged. It’d be like playing a video game with cheat codes, so easy that I question what the damn point is. I wouldn’t be able to stand anyone around me, as I’d be more spiritually developed than the rest of them and we’d be unable to vibe in the slightest.
As much as my social life is moving forward in Boulder, it’s really nothing too exciting. I went to a great party a couple weekends ago, easily in the top 10, possibly top 5 of all my nights out ever, and still…
It was predictable.
I was going through the motions of being “the fun, socially accepted party guy”. Talking to the girls, nothing I hadn’t already done a million times before. Showing off to people on the dance floor, nothing I hadn’t already done a million times before. Joking around, laughing, making conversation, entertaining people with my wittiness and capacity for chaos… You get it. It may have been a fun diversion, but partying like that is no longer my edge.
What WILL be my edge socially is: putting together my own tribe and social circle instead of just finding ways into other peoples’. I have no idea how I’ll be pulling this off, but there’s a first time for everything.
Gaming girls for the hell of it was my edge when I was overcoming my sexual anxiety, but now Game is easy and predictable for me. I know women’s attraction triggers and overall psychology + how to play myself to them like I know the back of my hand. My next edge in dating is finding a girl who speaks to me on ALL LEVELS – sexual, intellectual, spiritual, and surrendering myself to my sense of possession by her so I can make her a lasting part of my life.
So dear reader, are you on your edge?
Or are you too hung up on the past to feel like you’re firing on all cylinders building something greater?
Are you too hung up on the future to appreciate your present?
You can’t get on your edge in a liminal space.
Just like being stuck in your traffic commute because you made the genius decision to build a life in an unwalkable city is a physical limbo, being hung up on a past or future edge of yours puts you in spiritual limbo. It makes your life joyless and frustrating, rather than exciting and full of energy and tension.
So what are you afraid of? What do you deeply KNOW will challenge you and demand everything from you, yet profoundly nourish your soul?
Is it getting in the best shape of your life? Starting a business? Getting on a new career path or mission? Approaching girls and learning to be vulnerable + respectfully unapologetic about your sexual desire? Getting closer to God and raising your vibration? Learning a new skill? Starting a family? Giving something or someone up?
Maybe you’ll find it in an unwalkable city like Nashville or Denver, if that’s in alignment with you. Maybe you’ll find it somewhere smaller, more walkable. Maybe you’ll find it purely within yourself, then your external world will shift alongside it.
Get out of limbo, bro. Stop torturing yourself with these long commutes sans community. As long as you fantasize about being somewhere besides here, you’ll only manifest more of this longing, not your next edge.
No matter what physical world you’re currently living in, there is SOMETHING you can do to challenge yourself and raise your capacity for tension.
Even if your body isn’t in a walkable place at the moment, your soul’s path is always walkable. Its next step is literally right beside you.
You just need to see it for what it’s giving you, rather than for what it’s “lacking”.
Whatever you feel like your current edge is in your journey as a man and as a soul is, whether it’s fitness, life purpose, or women and masculinity…