I’ve considered starting a blog for awhile now. Now I have one and am posting this to it but when I wrote this I was still writing on the subway on my phone. I’ve thought of different names for it and I’m still not sure which one I’ll choose. One name I’m considering is “Adventure Stories” – though that website is probably already taken by some crazy mountaineer or something.
I’ve always wanted my life to be an adventure. The idea of working the same 9-5 job for 40 years makes me sick to my stomach. I want safety and predictability like you do… just not too much of it. I remember one summer I read Lord of the Rings while lying in the sun on a dock beside the clear water of Blue Lake, BC. I wanted that journey, that adventure, I wanted to have a goal that required me to risk and try new things, go new places, experience danger and escape by the skin of my teeth. Those stories are so fun and exciting! A key component of adventure is fear, the unknown, things not working out according to plan…
Cut to Star Lake, BC. I was still on this Lord of the Rings adventure kick–running top speed through the woods barefoot like an elf (though somehow not as quietly) and running off the dock to “practice” walking on water like Jesus. One day I swam out to the island in the middle of the lake. It was not so far but it was farther than most people care to swim in deep water (my family and I are big on swimming). I got to the island, barefoot and in my bathing suit. This was always my problem with these adventures – I’d swim across the lake to some cool new spot and then I wouldn’t be able to explore it properly because I was soaking wet, barefoot and blind (this was before my days of swimming with contacts – life changer!) I got out of the water anyways, started clambering up the rocky shore, slipped and sliced my foot open. The cut ran along the side of my foot, parallel to the ground so that there was a flap of skin covering it’s length. It bled. Alot. I was in the middle of the lake and what was exciting and adventure inducing about this lake was that there was no one else around. What to do… but have an adventure! I was so excited!
I started swimming back. Of course it was a much longer swim home than it had been out. And every time I kicked my legs the flap of skin fluttered in the water and really hurt! Even better. I took my time, swimming mostly with my arms and using a bit of a whip kick which created less fluttering. I probably cut some of the adventure factor out because I was so excited about having one. When I got back to the cabin my mom just looked at me like I was crazy and patched up my foot. Not quite the triumphant story telling moment I had been hoping for. (Because of course, part of the fun of adventures is having a story to tell).
This was the first time that I put two and two together. If everything goes smoothly and according to plan you have a regular life, not an adventure. If Frodo had just been given the ring, walked up to mount doom and dropped the ring in the mountain no one would read that story. He might write a blog about his walk in the woods, but no one would care. It wouldn’t become a classic novel that children and adults alike will read for generations to come, with a multi billion dollar trilogy of movies.
When did I become so afraid? I have many stories of relishing danger throughout my youth. Dangers like the rush of adrenalin when you think you’re lost but still have the peace that comes from bravery and the knowledge that if you keep your head, everything will be ok.
Now here I am, terrified that if I choose the wrong career I will ruin my life forever. Mostly because I can’t reconcile adult responsibility with my childhood dreams. However, despite my intense, crippling fear, I have this sense that I’m in the middle of an adventure. I can’t see the home shore right now and I’m not sure what the triumphant story is going to be yet, but I have a feeling that there will be one. And I want you to be able to read it when there is.