Adventure. What a word!
It conjures visions of mountains to climb, rivers to ford. Diving to see the ocean bottom. Jumping from airplanes or diving into canyons tethered by elastic bands.
I was never physically adventurous. This had less to do with fear — though there was always plenty of that — but spoke more to my understanding of me and my physical limitations.
Clumsiness stands out head and shoulders from the crowd of reasons why I never became a rock climber, diver, or bungee jumper. I knew, in my soul, I would fall off the mountain, the bungee would pop and a fatal plunge awaited me on that steep, winding trail along edge of the cliff.
On horseback, I was daring, though looking back, I think stupid probably better applies. I fell off regularly and got broken. Eventually I learned to ride well enough to be less stupid and avoid additional breakage. By then, the damage was done and would never go away.
Fear, trembling, and an already damaged spine notwithstanding, I climbed down the cliffs at Land’s End in Cornwall on a dare. Which is always the wrong reason to do something. But I did it. I am not proud of it because it didn’t prove anything about me or the cliffs. That I didn’t fall and break the rest of me is not something to brag about. It wasn’t like no one had dared to do it before.
What’s the point of an adventure if you aren’t accomplishing anything new or noteworthy … or going somewhere you couldn’t go via some other safer, easier means? Why climb 1000 stairs if there’s an elevator?
Other adventures meant more to me. I moved across the ocean to live in a foreign country that became home. I wanted to experience another culture and see the world from a new perspective. For my own reasons. It was an adventure requiring mental rather than physical agility. Much more me.
Today, a lovely hotel with comfortable beds is a grand adventure. Otherwise, I’ve passed my tests, thank you. I don’t feel any pressure to prove myself, not to me or anyone. But those of you who still have mountains to climb? Have at it.
When you get up there, plant a flag and think (briefly) of me rooting for your success. Have fun out there. And … as they say … be careful. You only get one body and it has to (hopefully) last a long time.