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Sunday, August 19, 2007

adventurous  

posted by Michael Piwonka 9:10 PM
Someone asked me the other day what adventurous thing had I done in the last year. After thinking about it for a moment, I replied that I don't know that I have done anything adventurous in the past year.

It got me to thinking. What exactly have I done in the past year? And what qualifies as adventurous anyway? According to the dictionary, it generally involves risk, requires courage, and can be hazardous.

I got divorced, but I don't think that qualifies as adventurous. I suppose it requires courage, but I really had no choice in the matter anyway, so how courageous was I really?

I guess the only thing that would qualify is my investments in a couple real estate ventures. A cabin in the mountains, and the renovation of a large house in Charlotte represent a certain amount of risk. I may make some decent money, or I may end up poor as a pauper (okay, I don't really expect to end up a pauper, even if the investments don't turn out as well as planned, but it makes the story sound more dramatic!).

And I definitely haven't done anything hazardous. I haven't tried sky-diving, climbing Everest, or even riding my bicycle without a helmet.

So the question became am I doing anything interesting? Or I am I just biding my time, living a fairly monotonous life, waiting for something adventurous to magically spring upon me?

I've started dating again, and I find myself a little uncomfortable, being a couple decades out of practice. I guess that qualifies as adventurous...I feel nervous, exhilarated, anxious, and awkward. It does give me butterflies, and gets the adrenalin flowing. It makes me feel young again, particularly those pregnant pauses in conversation where both parties struggle for something to talk about.

But should we always be looking for the elusive adventure? Should we just be content with where we are? After all, I do have it pretty good: I have two beautiful children, a good career, a nice home, and wonderful friends and family. Would looking for more be greedy?

I'm a fan of the following quote from Robert Louis Stevenson:
To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.

For me, I prefer to always be searching. Not necessarily searching for something new to fulfill the desire du jour, but rather searching for whatever keeps me alive, rather than just living. It may manifest itself in infinite ways, but it always comes back to learning new things. Seeing things, doing things, experiencing things, all in the quest to learn.

Perhaps my friend Tony and I need to finally get off our butts and take that hike up to Machu Picchu we've been talking about for years, so we can watch the sunrise and contemplate the nature of things. Now that sounds like adventure.

The bottom line is I haven't done anything adventurous in some time. But I think something's right around the corner, something that will keep my soul alive.

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random. arbitrary. completely unnecessary. yet refreshingly therapeutic.




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