My kids have been used to change my perception of adventure over the last year. I had my adventure all planned out: RV across the West coast, perhaps go into Canada and, if we weren't tired of travel trailer living, go into Alaska. I could picture the whole thing!
How did they change it? Well first let's define adventure.
Is adventure like the time we got lost in the woods and I had to take my pregnant self and poop behind a tree? Or maybe it's like the time we spent 5 hours at the beach and got some serious sunburns because I forgot to bring extra sunscreen. Or when we visited some caves and our faces couldn't contain the awe and the majesty of the whole moment created memories bigger than the photographs.
Adventure is defined as "an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks."
But what about the thrill of adventure? I wanted the sweet memories of discovery without the difficulty, but my kids are showing me that there are some of both.
1. Adventure is both high highs and low lows.
Remember those woods I had to do the deed in? Well we were searching for a mountain home we wanted to visit. It was in those woods somewhere but it kept eluding us. But we'd come this far and were determined to find the way. Eventually we found the house. We weren't lost anymore or even forced to eat a limb to survive. In fact, we were greeted with chocolate chip cookies, coffee and jalapeno artichoke dip & chips. Highs and lows.
Of course, the house was right next to us the whole time, just up the hill, hidden away from plain sight. We couldn't see it but it was there. It took some searching and determination. And that's what our kids had that I lacked. I was ready to give up, but they had fun in the moment, throwing rocks, using their slingshots and skipping along. And I think that's the perfect metaphor for adventure.
2. Adventure happens as we live and typically outside my plans.
We're always right next to it, we just don't see it. Many adult brains lose their wiring for adventure somewhere, but it can be recovered. Adventure happens as we live life, even if the perfectly staged picture of the fun was missed. Plans are valuable to an extent but adventure requires a little less control-freak and a little more flexibility. My kids are teaching me to let go and just live.
The unexpected moments are the ones we laugh about around the dinner table. It's where the memories are made. Children are masters of living in the present, and because of this, embrace adventure as it comes.
3. Adventure is calling but it doesn't always sound like we'd imagine.
Sometimes it comes in a whisper, gently beckoning us to wake up early and catch the sunrise. Other times it screams like a banshee while you run through the woods afraid of an imaginary wild boar. Either way, we must be listening. It's calling us.
Are you willing to let go of your plans and activities to answer its call? How can you embrace your inner-childhood, allowing adventure to sweep you off into the day regardless of how glamorless or dirty it makes you? How can you join your children in adventure today?
What's keeping you from hearing the call?