At the start of 2023, I sat on zoom catching up with a few friends. As you might expect, we were stating intentions, goals, and wishes for the coming year. I did not have any specific goals but I remember passionately stating that the thing I wanted above all else in 2023 was ADVENTURE.
It is now October of 2023 and I can tell you that the Rolling Stones nailed it: You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you'll find you get what you need.
I have a sneaky suspicion that the Universe is laughing so hard it can't catch its breath. I'm talking doubled over, slightly worried that it might die from lack of oxygen but simultaneously not caring because it is so euphoric at the moment. "She said she wanted adventure," the Universe sputters between laughing spells. (Note to self: next year, be more specific.)
I wanted adventure. For example, learning an odd but fun new skill and then discovering that I am incredibly talented at it and that this is the thing I should be doing with my life. An Odd Skill Agent discovers me and I end up touring the world, meeting new people, seeing new things, as I showcase my miraculous ability.
Perhaps my husband's job suddenly, inexplicably, turns into a remote job with a substantial pay raise and the whole family hops into the RV to go on adventures for the entire year.
I would even have accepted several small adventures in lieu of one gigantic one. After all, I am very understanding and flexible. (Right?)
The truth is that the Universe did listen to my desire for adventure; however, the reality of this was much different from my daydreams. I did learn a new skill in pottery, though my mugs have no handles and they are heavy enough to be considered weapons. We sold the RV and thereby gave up travel adventures. I was faced with a difficult work situation in which I ended up leaving a profession I had been in for 20 years.
Yay. Adventure. Sense my enthusiasm.
The year is not over yet so there is definitely the chance that Oprah will call me directly to ask me about the book I wrote and to schedule a time to be part of her podcast. Perhaps she is so taken by my quirky character and authenticity that I tour with her across the US. We create a unique dance move together and go viral.
It's possible. Maybe not probable.
Turns out the definition of adventure is "an unusual, typically hazardous, experience or activity." Yup. Good job, Universe. You #nailedit. This entire year was filled with situations in which I was nowhere near my comfort zone. I was in wild country, couldn't even find the comfort zone on my map.
And, I realize, the year most definitely is not finished yet. My mugs are slightly larger now but that only makes them more deadly. Without working in the field of education, I wake up every morning wondering who I am and what my purpose is. Everything is unsettled, new, kinda scary.
I would like to add one element to the definition of an adventure. An adventure is an undertaking for which you do not know the outcome. If we know the outcome, it's just a plan, not an adventure. If we think about most of the adventures we have experienced in our lives, most of them did not feel super fantastic while we were going through them. We were probably confused, scared, uncertain, maybe even anxious. We had no idea how it was going to turn out. It is only after we survive and look back that we say, "Wow - that was an adventure!"
I write about this today because I have spoken to many people recently who feel similarly to me. Things aren't quite right. Maybe you too have been rocked from your comfort zone. Perhaps just on an internal level, you are questioning EVERYTHING.
To everyone out there who feels this, I see you. Here's both the good news and the bad news: We are having an adventure. We are Frodo carrying the ring to Mordor; we are Harry Potter lost in the woods trying to find the horcruxes; we are the Avengers after Thanos snapped his fingers. (If you are not into sci-fi / fantasy, can we even understand each other?!)
If it doesn't feel like an adventure yet, that's because we are in the thick of it. The adventure is in process. How will it end? Will there be a sudden, positive twist? In what unpredictable ways will I rescue myself? I am so curious to know the answers to these questions.
Let's keep going.
Adventure on, friends.