Generally, I play it safe. You aren't going to to find me bungee-jumping, sky-diving, rock-climbing, even riding a big, fast roller coaster. Financially, my wife and I are conservative. Our possessions are quite mainstream. When we vacation we make standard choices like Italy or England or Hawaii. Going to Tibet or the rain forest of the Amazon aren't really on our radar.
So, why a post about adding adventure to your life? There are two primary reasons: I need to listen to the message and attempt a bit of a change in 2011. And, because adventure has a much broader definition than is usually assigned to the word. It doesn't have to just involve physical activities. Of course within the past two weeks I cut my hand deeply on Christmas Day and slipped on ice New Year's morning spraining my wrist. Maybe I should be writing about safety instead. But, no, that would be counter-productive. Adventure is what being alive is about.
Why Be Adventurous?
What are the possible gains if you decide to embrace a more adventurous life this year? Self-confidence and belief in yourself with be strengthened. You could discover abilities you think you lack. You might learn to overcome some fears that have been holding you back from a truly satisfying retirement. Of course, fear is a good thing. It can keep you from physical harm. But, fear of things that aren't likely to hurt you can limit your life experiences.
Trying new things might help you understand more about your strengths and weaknesses. If your limits are not tested how can you know what those limits are? Henry David Thoreau said it best: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. " We can't know what music is still in us if we have no idea what we are capable of.
What Does Adding Adventure Look Like?
Adding adventure to your life can come in several forms. No matter what I write here, I'm still not jumping out of a plane or exploring deep, dark caves. It just isn't going to happen. But, that doesn't mean I can't discover what would work with my personality and temperament. One idea is to look at friends and acquaintances who are higher up the adventure-meter than I and see if there is something I can adapt to my life.
I have a friend who loves to mountain bike. He thinks nothing of hurling down a hill, full bore, with just his skill and a dash of luck to keep him from a serious spill. OK, not my style. Not gong to happen. But, I've toyed with the idea of getting a trail bike and starting to pedal my way through desert trails in the Phoenix area. There is still some danger from rocks, loose sand, even an occasional rattlesnake. But, that level of danger I believe I am able to tolerate. It sounds like fun, it is something I can handle physically, and would expand my horizons. I wouldn't shatter my comfort zone, just push the edge back a bit. It doesn’t matter how wild or daring this adventure is. What matters is trying something new.
I read somewhere a definition of adventure that includes anything that makes your heart race or your pulse quicken. Thus almost any experience in life qualifies. For example, what if you went to a restaurant that serves food you normally don't eat? What if you order something from the menu you can't even pronounce? Would that qualify as an adventure? Absolutely. You are allowing yourself to fail in an adventurous attempt to succeed. The only real risks are wasted money, you go home hungry, or you missed the chance to discover a whole new cuisine you enjoy.
Are these adventurous: talking to a stranger at a social or community event, painting your living room a bold shade of red, or going to the opera when you are sure you hate it? Absolutely. Each of those is every bit as much an adventure as rafting down the Colorado. How about trying a new flavor of coffee? Buy three magazines in subjects you don't know or understand. Read them.
Life is An Adventure, isn't it?
Adding adventure really just means that you choose to become a lover of life. Decide to say, "Yes," when your comfortable self wants to say, "No." There be will mistakes, there might be some embarrassment. Heavens, you may fall flat on your face, both literally and figuratively. If this happens get up, learn from you mistakes and give it another shot.
Choose to say, “Yes.” Do what have you always wanted but never dared try. Don’t fear risks. Take measured risks. Know that you are grabbing onto what life has to offer.
Question: What one thing have you done that surprised even you? What would qualify as an adventure in your life?
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