We are ready to embark on a remarkable adventure, one that will take us wherever we want to go. This adventure is what we simply term “life experiences.” I cannot say that I have always viewed life as an adventure. I grew up in rural Indiana and was warned from an early age of all of the pitfalls that awaited me if I did not exercise extreme caution in life. I was raised to believe that my parents were in charge and knowledgeable about such things and that if I did not heed what they told me, there were consequences to be paid for that digression.
True to form, I listened to them, more or less, and lived a rather uneventful childhood. I do remember a time when I was about eight or nine years old and I was playing with other kids while my mother was working to help other women in the community prepare a community dinner. We were all racing around and someone thought it would be a good idea to sit up on this tall counter, about the height of a bar. We clamored up and with all of us heaving to get up on one side, the bar began to tip. We had not realized it was not fastened to the floor and as it tipped over, the others quickly got out of the way. I did not. The heavy counter fell on my foot and I was rushed to the doctor about fifteen miles away and was told that I had dislocated my foot. After the pain of having the doctor get it back into alignment, a cast was put on my foot and I was sent home. I had several weeks to contemplate the wisdom of having fun and comparing it to the pain I experienced and the isolation I felt as I recuperated at home away from my friends at school.
I found at an early age, therefore, that adventure came with a price and it was often edged with pain. What I did not realize at the time was that in giving up the adventure because of the fear of pain, I also was giving up the exhilaration that is associated with adventure. As I continued to listen, more or less, to the teachings of my parents, I became less and less adventuresome. This caused me to be more and more fearful of taking chances. I kept equating pain and adventure. Don’t go for the adventure and stay safe. I continued living this way as a teenager, as a young adult, and on into my thirties. Then, life happened.
I ended up divorced raising two young children. Where was the adventure in that? I did not want to get too adventuresome or I might do something that would hinder my ability to parent so yet again I took the safe path. I would look at the other path when I reached a fork in the road, but I would not take the one that Robert Frost referred to as “the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.”
I took the safe choice time after time until I realized that my soul was wilting. I was trying so hard to stay safe that I was denying myself the enjoyment of life’s adventure. We are here to experience and enjoy life. It may mean that we take those paths that are less traveled and experience new adventures. Some of those adventures may bring us pain but if we deny ourselves joy because we live in fear, we don’t really life, we only exist.
I made a decision about six years ago to step up and out and take a different path. I had a chance to change location yet still remain close to family members, so I took it. I made new friends and had new experiences and began to experience joy. My soul flourished. I wrote a book and had it published. I traveled. I continued to write and have published two more books. My adventure has included meeting a new business partner and co-authoring a novel with him. My experiences and adventures don’t include going off of Niagra Falls in a barrel, but they are adventures that add to my enjoyment of life.
When we do what we enjoy, we are happier people. When we are happier, we find more to be appreciative of and as we appreciate more, we are given more to appreciate. I can compare it to giving gifts. If you give someone a gift and they shrug it off as not good enough to be thankful for, are you going to continue to give them gifts? You may for a while, but after a time, you will either take less care in choosing the gift and just give them something because it is expected or you will quit giving them a gift altogether. If someone does not appreciate a small gift, you are not inclined to give them a greater gift. I think the Universe operates this same way . When we are appreciative and thankful for all the Universe provides as we begin our adventure of life, we are rewarded time and time again with more and more adventures and gifts. I have found this to be true as I began doing those adventuresome activities that fed my soul and enriched my life.
Take the path less traveled. See what it has to offer. You can turn around and go back if the path becomes too obscure or dangerous. It is your path and your adventure. Make it exactly what you want it to be and really enjoy each and every turn it takes.