I think that most of us deep down, on some level, crave adventure. It’s something that’s innately part of us. If you watch children, they find adventure and wonder in the smallest of things; discovering a tadpole, scribbling a new word, building their own fort made of twigs and dirt.
As we get older, we tend to lose our natural navigation towards fun and play. Adventure becomes something we must actively seek out and is the exception, rather than the rule, to our daily living.
Yet I posit that with the right mindset, even adults can have authentic adventures…and often at the most unexpected times. I experienced the most delightful example of this recently on Christmas Day.
I was feeling stuffed full, a tad hungover and droopy-eyed from the cold and rainy weather. I was perilously close to drifting asleep when my darling partner suggested that we go for a walk down to the local Falls.
The rest of my family looked us as askew and with befuddlement when we announced that we were taking a bush walk. ‘In this weather?!’
They asked, to a backdrop of drenched window panes and rumbling thunder. Well, why not? So like young, idiotic teenagers with more fun than sense, we headed out into the storm. And guess what? It was magical. I had so much fun!
The walk down to the falls had an ethereal, Lord of the Rings like quality, which made the green of the landscape virtually luminescent.
The smell of the earth and sound of the rain emphasised the gorgeous fact that we were alive and outside, free to enjoy this incredible part of the world.
When we got to the Falls, a family were already enjoying the water and scenery and encouraged us to jump in. I was wearing my Christmas dress and hadn’t come out with any intention of swimming, yet the natural roar of water, pealing laughter of children frolicking and natural scenery made the idea of jumping in irresistible.
My darling jumped in first and assured me that the water was warm. Yet when I perched at the ledge for my turn to join him, I froze.
It was at most 3 or 4 metres down. But in that moment, it felt like a dizzying drop. The adult in me admonished that it was a stupid idea (I didn’t want to spoil my make up really anyway, did I ?) and that I was waaaaaay too much of a scaredy-cat with heights to do this.
But the deeper part of me, the piece that I think is in all of us, wanted to let go and play. So I took a deep breath, stopped thinking and just jumped. The air whooshed around my legs for the free-fall and the water hit me with a shock of cold as a I plunged in.
For a split second, there was nothing but me and the icy descent into that black, cool world. When I resurfaced, I couldn’t stop giggling. (And coughing – I’d forgotten to breathe out and copped a shockful of water up my nose when I dived in.)
But I’d done it! I’d stopped being up in my sensible adult head and lost myself in the pure, simple joy of play. This may sound like a silly example and I know most people wouldn’t think twice about jumping off that small distance.
The point of this story is to highlight that we don’t need to be on the back of a motorbike cruising through Saigon or carving up the slopes of Mt Cardrona to have adventure.
Life supplies ample opportunities if we approach it with a child-like heart of play. When we are playful, we aren’t stressed or sad or wallowing in negativity We’re adding to our own joy, and the tonnage of joy in the world. And that, to me, is a beautiful thing.
I gently encourage you to find opportunities for spontaneous play and adventure in your day. This doesn’t mean that you abandon adult responsibilities or take dangerous risks.
It means that you stay open to the possibility that you could do something differently and find opportunities to build joy into overall adventure called Life.
It could be something as small or big as:
Signing up for a new course or workshop that you’ve always dreamt about,
Taking an ocean swim in the middle of Winter,
Skinny-dipping somewhere safe and secure,
Wearing a different coloured dress that’s a little outside your comfort zone,
Doing a small act of kindness for somebody else,
Speaking up at work and offering your authentic opinion,
Finding the funniness in a stressful situation,
Tickling your partner and allowing yourself to ‘be silly’,
Letting the house be less-than-perfect so you can do something nice with your ‘cleaning time’,
Ordering something far-fetched off a restaurant menu,
Stepping outside of your comfort zone to try something new – even if you ‘fail’ or ‘look stupid’.
Fall in love with your own sense of adventure! It’s been said that small things amuse small minds. I contend that the opposite is true – an expansive mind can find wonder and adventure in the smallest things. What brings you a sense of play and adventure?