the adventure life
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature is a wondrous thing and getting out in it is what we were hard-wired for many eons ago. Experiencing the colors, textures, and scents elicit feelings and emotions in us that are in-explainable, unless we realize that they have a meaning that goes beyond just beauty. For our distant ancestors living on the Savanna, the color green meant life, as well as the color of flowers, or the sound of running water.
There was a time when living the adventure life was just known as living. It was a way of life that we evolved to exploit, master, and eventually make easier (a lot easier). And while we may have evolved beyond the point of relying on nature for our mere subsistence, and we may exert a great deal of control over it, nature still has the power to affect us in profoundly positive ways. All we have to do is let it.
While the adventure life is out there waiting for us, it's the adventurer within us that has to take that first step. By taking a long, deep, and honest look inside ourselves, we can figure out what has been holding us back and keeping us from getting out there. That is when we can start becoming that adventurer that we were born to be and is striving to get out.
Becoming Stronger and Fitter
Living the adventure life demands that we become stronger and fitter, for it will allow us to climb higher mountains, swim across wider (and colder) lakes, squeeze through tighter caves, endure conditions that are less than ideal, or almost anything else you can think of. By living the adventure life, we elevate yourselves above the average and beyond the comfortable. Way beyond! And by going a little higher, or farther, when its a little hotter, or colder, or wetter, chances are that we will have the place all to ourselves. Well, maybe with a few friends.
And while we may be doing this to live a more adventurous life, our everyday lives will benefit immeasurably as well.
Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear. - Mark Twain
Cliché Alert - "The goal is to put more life in our years, not just more years in our lives." More adventurous years! The cool thing is that by living a more adventurous life, we are already adding more and better years, and with just a few tweaks we can add even more than that.
Happiness is a goal that every human being strives for. Ultimately, it is the driving force behind every decision we make in life. But happiness is not a place, it is not something we can own or hold onto, it is an experience, a feeling. And no matter how hard we try to maintain that feeling, it is only temporary and will soon fade into memory. And it's the strength of that memory that will determine its long-term effect on us.
Will we grow from that experience, or will its effect disappear forever? If that happy experience provides a moment of personal growth, then its effect will be cumulative, and will help shape us into the person we are to become. Our future selves.
If we build up enough of these happy experiences and gain the confidence that more and more of them are in our future, then we start to feel like we are living a life of contentedness. And that is the real goal in life.
Becoming a Better Person
When we take a long look in the mirror, most of us have to admit that we are not exactly the person we would have chosen to become (personally, I failed to become the fireman-cop-astronaut-president that I was supposed to be), but the person we were programmed to be.
Now I know that reality dictates that we all can't be firemen-cop-astronaut-presidents, and our dreams as children are surely closer to fantasy than reality on the real-life spectrum. But when "reality" becomes our rationale for being stuck in a cubicle at Initech (been there), we have to realize that we are living at the extreme other end of that same real-life spectrum. When and how did this life become acceptable? It took a lot of subconscious justification.
By seeking to improve ourselves everyday we tell ourselves that we will not be complacent and accept the status quo, we will not follow blindly the path that has been designated for us. But we will embrace change, accept the unknown, endure discomfort, and take a new path, an adventurous one, of our own design. And if we fail miserably? Well, the cubicle will always be there waiting for us.
What Doesn't Kill Ya
The adventure life isn't easy. It's not supposed to be. We're going to get banged up, we're going to pull muscles, and we might even break something, but those are the exact moments when we need to tell ourselves that this is the feeling of being alive.
Much of the time, hopefully most of the time, we are in the adventure and enjoying every minute of it, but sometimes we may not be enjoying it. Sometimes we may be regretting it. This is when we need to remind our present-selves that while we may not be enjoying this, our future-selves will surely benefit and maybe even be happy we did this.
For how challenging and difficult the adventure may be at the time, we need to remind ourselves that we are making ourselves stronger (mentally and physically) and it will get easier next time (Unless you go and die).
Oh yeah, and those cuts and bruises, they're called trophies.
“Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it.”
Parting thought - remember that when you get lost, or you think you're lost - embrace it, because that's when the adventure begins.