Despite the digital interconnectedness of modern-day society, a significant percentage of us are virtually stuck in place in our real, not virtual lives. It is incredibly easy for us to click on YouTube and “be” in Bali or Brazil in a second, but in our actual everyday existence we live in an adventure-free, experience-free environment. For far too many, the concept of “adventure” is having spaghetti and sausage rather than spaghetti and meatballs; walking the mall clockwise instead of counter-clockwise or listening to hard rock rather than soft rock.
Adventure Is Out There
We can go online and immediately find “100 high-powered experts” willing to give us free advice about living in the moment. The advice is safe and predictable. Experts flapping their digital fingers are you telling you how you should live, rather than urging you to get off-line and truly live.
Here’s the problem: adventure as we often imagine it is Indiana Jones or Fast and Furious. We tell our friends, “I’m not very adventuresome.” We get scared at the prospect of surfing a huge wave, skydiving or even riding a high-speed go-kart. However, that is not necessarily adventure at all. It may be reckless or terrifying, but not automatically adventuresome. For example, a person who surfs huge waves each day, every day, might be petrified of being exposed as a dreadful bowler.
Adventure is far simpler and far less life-threatening. It is opening yourself up for whatever may come your way, looking at an opportunity without knowing where it might lead, or about being willing to open up your mind to a new way of thinking.
Adventure can be practiced by anyone and at any age. It is not a pursuit of the young or even the athletic. I have a friend who for many years was in the arts. She was a highly successful fabric designer. Her mother had to undergo emergency surgery. While her mother was in the ICU, she was impressed with the professionalism and caring of the nursing staff.
About nine years ago, she decided she wanted to become a nurse anesthetist. She had to go back to college, accumulate science courses, apply to nursing school, then get advanced training and go through a rigorous certification process. She is now a highly-respected nurse anesthetist.
I would say that what she accomplished was extremely adventurous, primarily because she was 43 years of age when she went back to college.
Disrupt Your Routine
Leaving your personal comfort zone is only something that you can define. It can be any new experience and having the “courage” to view life through different lenses. A couple I know are both “on the road” a great deal as they are in marketing for a major company in the pet food industry. By “on the road,” what I mean is that they are both frequent fliers, racking up tens of thousands of miles each year. They live outside of Greensboro. Last year, they received an invitation to their great-aunt’s 95th birthday party. Their aunt lived outside of Boston. They not only chose to take a train instead of fly, but they avoided hotels and stayed at three different Airbnb properties. They had a blast.
Leaving one’s comfort zone invariably leads to other adventures. Trying new things doesn’t always mean it will be enjoyable. Just because you might seize a new opportunity doesn’t automatically mean it will be successful. Not long ago, I was talked into going to a restaurant that served very spicy food. I didn’t enjoy it, but I did enjoy all the jokes and ribbing that came from my friends watching me down my third glass of water to quench the burning. However, it certainly won’t prevent me from trying another new cuisine.
Life should be for living, not for staying within a closed-off comfort zone. Dare to do something different each day. Make the choice that anything new you try will expand your horizons and every day you spend in a tight, controlled comfort zone is one day closer to never living to your full potential at all.
Go Where You Feel Most Alive
We are given only so many days on this earth. We have a choice, each and every day, to treat the day as a precious gift, or to waste it in self-indulgence, bitterness, or fear. The life’s bank account contains only so many hours.
The couple I mentioned above wanted to see their aunt one more time to tell her they loved her. The nurse anesthetist wanted to prove to herself that she could overcome her fears and do something exceptionally brave! While I may not eat super spicy food again, I have no regret in trying something new.
So let’s all put our cell phones, laptops, and tablets down and stop looking for a remarkable adventure online. Your adventure can be as simple as talking to a random person at a coffee shop and befriending them. Do something different every day, and you will live a life of adventure. So what are you waiting for? Go out and claim your own adventure.