Well shit. That wasn’t what I expected at all. Like not even a little bit. It’s December 4th, 2017 and I’m just 20 day shy of finishing my last fall semester of college. The last time I wrote on this blog I was crushing through some bullshit obligation to posting on here and not actually enjoying the process of just writing. So I’m back up here to just do some writing and fill myself in on what has been happening in the ol’ world of James.
It’s funny how the preconceived notions we all hold of what something is usually ends up dictating our entire relationship with that thing. Take for example alcohol. We all know alcohol has negative health effects, it can make us unruly, rude, loud, funnier, better singers and all the other fantastic and terrible things it can actually do. (Think hangover) The knowledge of all the things that alcohol is capable of inspiring and dictating in us was known to others who came before us. They pass this knowledge down. In my case, I was raised mormon and let us just say alcohol doesn’t have the best reputation among mormons. They tout against any of its positive merits and instead only highly the negative. Now as a bartender you might think that I’ve reconciled any amount of misleading thought passed on to me by my mormon heritage, but they would be quite wrong. As many of my friends know I’m usually always in control when I’m drinking and very rarely if at all do I allow myself to fully indulge in the moment. This hesitation I experience comes as a direct result of the cautionary tales and the sometimes comically wrong lessons I received as I child. But these lesson have gone on to shape the person I am today.
I, we are a product of those who have come before. The stories they tell us help to shape our world view. We engage with the world through the lens of these lessons and ideas. Now that does not mean that we follow them strictly, but it shapes our responses. These lessons and learning moments are a condition that predicate a reaction from us, however that reaction can look 7 billion different ways. In a world of adventure there are several greats and it is these greats that we all strive to emulate in some fashion or another. I know I for one read the story of Chris McCandless and was awe struck at the bravy as well as the brash stupidity exemplified in that tale. I know that when I first heard of the man Che Guevara, not his political self, I heard of a young man who saw the world, lived among people who were diverse and exciting, who had hardships and experienced lows as well as many many highs. When we post epic instagrams or # our favorite hikes and views we quote John Muir. A man who walked countless miles in a land that inspired him, that drove him, and a land which gave his life purpose and meaning. And who could leave off the likes of Lynn Hill the first person to free climb the nose of El Cap? She spent months living the dirt bag life committed to living passionately for brief moments when she was able to do what she loved most.
These four and the countless others who came before are the ones who set our expectations for what adventure is. They challenge the idea of the impossible and in doing so they inspire us to do the same. And since we all have different definitions of adventure or a life worth living these influences shape the lens that allows those who follow to see the world in a slightly different way. By broken rules, records, bones, dreams, hopes, homes, careers… the list goes on.
So we all have different ideas of what adventure is, that’s really the only point I’m trying to make here, you can really just ignore the cliche bull^.
About 15 months ago, I was invited to go on a motorcycle trip to South America by my best friend. I had my reservations and a few incidents and all in all I couldn’t go. But what it came down to really for me, is there was a part, whatever part, of me that really didn’t want to go, otherwise I would have went. No questions asked. This is a little embarrassing to say because the idea of that trip is to me close to the epitome of adventure. To travel 1000’s of miles into new places, have new experiences, and meet new people! That sounds like the perfect adventure. But I didn’t go. Instead I hit a deer in my subaru and moved into a mini-van and drove around for a bit. By all definitions an adventure. By my expectations and reckoning an extended road trip. Granted all the pieces of adventure from the motorcycle trip were there. I drove 1000s of miles into new places and spaces, and I met tons of new people. Not to mention some crazy experiences, some better than others but nonetheless cray. And yet I feel unfulfilled on my adventure front.
Life is an adventure and I’ve been living life. I’ve been working and back in school these last several months. In fact I’m on track to graduate in August of 2018. Finally. Then what? Find a job, get comfortable? I honestly dread that idea. It seems so nice and so easy. But honestly I think what I’m really looking for is suffering. I don’t wanna be in pain I’m no masochist. But I want to but some effort, some blood sweat and tears behind something. Now that could be a career sure. Or it could be a relationship, i agree. But remember how I said that our lives are shaped by the stories and lessons from those who came before? Yeah I’m coming back to that.
My idea of an adventure now would be to blend everything together. You might be thinking James, you idiot that’s what life is! It’s a blend of work, love, boring ups and downs, filled with moments of high paced action! And I agree. So I guess really what I’m saying is I’m changing my perception of what adventure. I’m removing it from the confines of what exist in the wild spaces of the world, with fresh air, far distant lands, new people, exiting languages and food. I’m changing it to mean whatever the hell I’m doing now. I seek adventure. And so my life is adventure. I’ve already found what I’m seeking.
But hey this ain’t no boring old bullshit self actualization message about how I’ve now found contentment. No, this is a dramatic reframing of my life. So the pages that follow here will show case this new frame. The new lens in which I look at the world. Adventure is to come.