Life is either a daring adventure or…
I am a firm believer in the quote by Helen Keller,”Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Adventure is important in life. It is what keeps things interesting. We find the best pieces of ourselves when we are tested and we will never truly know where our passions lie if we do not go out and look. I used to struggle with the question: What do you do when you can’t drop everything and head out on some EPIC adventure for one reason or another? Do you wait? Plan more? Complain about your circumstances? I am here to tell you that there is no point in waiting until you have the money or the time to take the trip of a lifetime because your lifetime is what is going by while you are making plans! Adventure is out there. But here is a little back story on why I feel compelled to tell you this.
Seeking the old work and adventure balance.
I have been through phases in my life where all I did was work and as things progressed I found myself getting more and more despondent about my life and the way that things were going. I had less hope for what the future held and I stopped planning the things I wanted for my life. I simply blended into the stream of life and let it take me wherever it was headed. I had lost connection to my wife, my passion for life, and my tolerance for risk had greatly decreased. I found myself always making excuses for why I could not do something or go somewhere. I was not seeking out new experiences or testing myself and finding my edge. With the lack of change, challenge and overall adventure in my life everything suffered. My work ethic, my relationships, my drive to succeed and grow, everything. So what did I do about it? Well, like any true change, it is built on the foundation of rock bottom. You can only bury a part of your soul for so long before it either suffocates and dies or it claws its way to the surface and changes everything. The truth is what it is, it is not debatable or malleable, it is the truth. When I started to look at the immense amount of discomfort in my life I found my truth, the one that I had denied for much of my life. I needed adventure. I needed to be challenged. I needed the uncertainty that comes with new experiences, and for me, I needed to spend time nature.
When I realized this I was not in a position to sell my stuff and move to India with a backpack. I was not even in a position to travel. We didn’t have the money or the time. I did have complete control over what I found to be acceptable in my life and in my behavior though. My wife was working from home at this point and I had not yet joined her so on my days off we would pack a cooler and head into the mountains. We would go hike for 14 miles or we would drive to the coast (we were living in Oregon at this point), I tried surfing, I went snowboarding in the winter, I trained for a marathon and completed it, I started living. I believe that it is our responsibility to create happiness in our lives. This means we must look at those pieces of ourselves that we are not honoring. The pieces that have taken a backseat to obligations and responsibilities.
Obligations and responsibilities.
Obligations and responsibilities are a real thing in life but they are not a reason to not do the things that make us who we are. What I found when I looked at my obligations and responsibilities was that they were simply excuses. Some things in life we have to do, we have to pay the bills, we have to work in some capacity, but it is the things we get to do that gives life its juice. When I threw off all the excuses I was making: I did not have time, we don’t have the money, I have to work early, or I’m too tired from work, etc. I found that I did have the time and that there were plenty of things I could get into that cost little to no money. My issue was that I was not making adventure and connecting to myself and my family a priority. Looking back I just wanted to bitch about the things that were happening (or not happening) in my life instead of getting out and actually taking responsibility for living my life.
Life is in fact an adventure.
As I embraced our adventures and they became a regular, integral part of our lives my entire outlook changed. The weekly adventures I was having may not have been as grand as trekking through Switzerland but they were just as fulfilling. Hiking the endless trails in and around Portland and Bend Oregon gave my wife and I so much time to connect with each other and disconnect from the nonsense. They gave me time to develop a plan for my life and find my passion for living. I learned that adventure meant doing something that broke up my normal routine and injected some challenge and excitement in my everyday life. Now I don’t just make it a point to go and have an adventure every week, I frame my life as an adventure and that has changed the meanings that I attach to things. The challenges that used to stress me out are now simply obstacles that need to be navigated and the tasks that I used to find boring and mundane are now just preparation for something bigger.
It is not the size of the adventure…
It is my opinion that as human beings we need to be challenged and we need to be stimulated. If you are doing the same things over and over again, day in and day out, then I encourage you to break your routine. Load up the car and go for a hike. Go explore a new part of your city. Take a weekend getaway with your significant other or friends, go camping, head to the beach, go on a discover scuba dive, swim with sharks, go on a mini road trip, or whatever you can manage. Just have an adventure. Go after the things you want in life with gusto. I highly doubt that there was ever anyone on their death-bed who said that they wish they would have had less excitement and adventure in their lives. We have a tendency in today’s society to get sucked into anything with a screen and forget that there is a world out there that is begging to be explored and that there are large parts of the environment that are negatively changing or disappearing so you need to go see them now. There is nothing holding you back from going out and experiencing life and having an epic adventure. You do not have to go far, you do not have to spend a lot of money, you do not even have to do too much planning, you just have to go.