Earlier this spring, my team was in the habit of sharing a round of fortune cookies at work every morning. This is super fun and I highly recommend it as a daily ritual if you like the thrill of making impulsive life decisions based on vague predictions. Two rules: you pick your own and you read it out loud. I generally like to announce, “This will tell me how to live my life.” I’m telling you, these things are unnaturally accurate. One particular morning, I opened my cookie…
“Get ready for a daring adventure.”
I locked eyes with my girls. It seemed like an important moment. Then, of course;
“You should get that as a TATTOO!”
Yes, Yes I should.
So, I took my newest buddy with me on a whirlwind trip to the city and we got some ink. Couple’a badass white chicks rollin’ up in a white Ford Explorer, Usher and Lil’ Jon pumpin, ready to fuck shit up. She was also telling everyone I was her mom and people believed her, so there’s that. But overall, it was a great time. I got my tattoo, and I felt like my spirit was a little bit rejuvenated for some reason. And I believe that was the beginning of my conscious decision to live my life as an adventure. Something in me decided that if I was going to be travelling this road to the End, I might as well be driving.
So after that, I took the wheel in a series of daring adventures. I did some travelling. I went skydiving. I recorded my first podcast. I got a dramatic haircut, (to which I heard a LOT: “You’re SO brave!”, which honestly gave me a little bit of a complex). Lots of adventures in 6 months! But I’ve also done some not-so-obvious behind-the-scenes adventuring. I realized that I needed to find a new understanding of what I wanted my life to be and that would require some inner exploration.
Here’s an example. Shortly after my daring tattoo, I attended a women’s empowerment seminar. On a whim, and alone, I booked the ticket and booked off the time and took a day to myself. An entire day. It felt amazing, and it was the first time in a long time that I was really taking time for my own personal development. If the solitude and freedom of independence had been the only perk of the day, I would have been satisfied. But despite not knowing really what I was even signing up for, I found myself drinking in the knowledge of these speakers. I was frantically scribbling notes. I was approaching these women and asking questions. I felt thirsty for whatever knowledge they were dispensing. I walked in to that seminar looking forward to a peaceful day of listening but I left with an urgency to speak. I felt fully and newly assured that I had something important to say and that now was the time to begin saying it. I felt inspired.
In the days and weeks that followed, I allowed myself to consider every option when it came to my own personal purpose. I considered the unconscious limits I had put on myself by choosing not to question old beliefs and habitual behaviours. I began to really look at myself as a new, emerging person. Consider how adventurous that could be! Consider the opportunities! If you could shed your ‘old’ self by making different choices, what new choices would you make?
Would you choose to try new things?
Trying new things is an important part of life. I’ve always been comfortable with change and looking back on my life so far, it’s clear to me that we have to experience different things to know what we like and don’t like, what our strengths and weaknesses are. But it’s not just about figuring out if you like sushi or not. Time and time again, trying something new has opened up an entirely new facet of my identity.
When I went off to college, everyone thought I was going to be a writer or an advertising executive. My guidance counsellor was convinced I was cut out for TV reporting and that sounded pretty legit to me, so I declared a journalism major and took all the appropriate classes. I also needed to take an art class to fill my prerequisites.
I took one drawing class and changed my major to Fine Arts. Haha I know, right? But I’m impulsive and I felt like that’s what I needed to do, and that’s how I roll I guess. But that one decision took me on an adventure of true creative expression that ultimately allowed me to learn to trust my inner urgencies, be brave in my choices, and be true to my creative nature above all else. And that choice took me from drawing to painting to portraits and murals, to signs, to cake design, to Sweet Cup. And I feel like I’m only getting started! Thanks, Drawing 101!
What I’m saying is, adventure comes in many different forms. Adventure is not just a noun. It’s a verb. You can’t HAVE an adventure without actually adventuring. And the great thing is, we don’t have to jump out of a plane to go adventuring. It can be as relaxing as opening a book, or as personal as opening your heart. True adventure doesn’t just expand your knowledge of this physical world, it pushes you to encounter emotional and spiritual destinations within yourself. Real, true adventure requires going within yourself to find your boundaries and push through them into new territory. And you don’t have to leave the country for that. You just have to unlock and open the cage in your mind. New territory is everywhere.
Recently, I was in New York and found myself wandering the streets around Bryant Park in the wee hours. It was beautiful. The roar of the mid day rushing had subsided. The tourists had turned in. It was quiet and calm, and like a whole new world. I felt so free. I was so thankful for that moment and I thought about what I would have been missing if I hadn’t taken the time to explore the side streets, in the dark, when the noise of the daily grind had subsided. Allowing myself to wander off the beaten path of thoughts into the peace of solitude. I discovered a new part of myself that night because I dared to look for adventure in the quiet places.
Adventure delivers us to our true selves, a mystery meant to be solved over a lifetime. If we can understand that, we can learn to relish in the actual adventure of cracking the code. Looking for the answers down every avenue and every side street of our minds. Take the time to wander. To enjoy. To consider all the options. To savour every new experience like you may never have it again.
Adventure is daring. It’s brave. It’s scary and thrilling and exhilarating, like jumping out of a plane.
But it’s also quiet. It’s peaceful.
It’s Bryant Park, NY at 3am.