are we idolizing adventure?

song: give me jesus by matt stinton

location: somewhere up in the sky

read time: 7 minutes

this past weekend, i found myself in boston experiencing true fall weather. california is being stubborn and hasn’t shaken off the heat of summer — so the crisp air, burnt orange and deep red cranberry leaves were the perfect change of scenery for the weekend. this, of course, has nothing to do with what i’m about to write — but i thought you should know how delighted i was to wear oversized sweaters and boots this weekend. it was utterly wonderful.

the weekend was filled with wild adventures — but not the kind you may be thinking of. they were filled with imaginary friends and a three year old, playing princess and dancing around the living room like ballerinas, bouncing around a 5 month old, walks down an empty lane and an open heaven of fall leaves, slipping into evening comfy’s and sipping wine on the couch with my soul sister, erica, and husband. yes, quite confidently, the weekend was glorious in every single way.

to be honest — i had a story i was going to tell you about the weekend, but i’ll save it for another day. my mind, heart, and fingers are telling me that this article was meant for something else…

adventure has been a popular topic lately for our generation.  it’s everywhere we look, and we’ve learned to crave it.

you check instagram — it’s there: people posting the most glorious pictures of the pacific northwest. you flip through magazines — it’s there: used as a marketing scheme to sell you on a product. you read blogs — it’s there: someone posting about their latest escapade to barcelona.

in some ways, i feel as if our generation idolizes adventure. we’ve put adventure on a pedestal and worshipped it and the idea of it. we sit at our jobs, discontent with our lives and itching for the next grand adventure. we judge our lives in comparison to the lives we see online and the storyline being sold to us and feel as if our lives are “less than” if adventure is not currently weaved into our lifestyle.

this bothers me.

it bothers me for multiple reasons.

to start — adventure was never meant to be put on a pedestal. it wasn’t meant to be idolized. look through the history books, when we idolize something — destruction always comes. as of late, i feel as if people are craving adventure so much that they are willing to seek it out at any cost. everywhere i look — i see young people putting adventure before the things that matter most: God, stability, and responsibilities. that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

secondly — our modern definition of adventure is making us discontent. i’m talking about the the definition that says adventure can only happen if you leave where you are, climb a mountain, or get a passport stamp. you get the idea. this line of thinking is making us discontent as a generation. when we are discontent, we are incapable of being thankful for the lives that we have. essentially, our discontentment is a slap in the face to the lives we are living, saying they aren’t good enough.

adventure is being misunderstood and our misconception of adventure is causing a negative ripple effect among people in our generation.

you see, there are two types of adventure, both equally important.

1. the luxury adventures: galavanting around the world, exploring new places, experiencing new cultures.

2. the everyday adventures: the little moments that make our life grand and fill our lives with memories.

i fear that too many of us are idolizing and only chasing after the adventures of galavanting around the world that we never even stop to acknowledge the everyday adventures. the reality is— the adventures to unknown places are not the norm. they can’t be. they are the luxury. when we are old and grey, we’ll look back at our lives and when we do—yes, i hope that we’ll all see peaks of these luxury adventures, but there will be moments in between those — moments that can also be filled with adventure too, the everyday kind.

there needs to be a shift in the way we see adventure — or else, well, i think we might ruin ourselves. i believe, more than anything — adventure is a mentality, a way of living —more than an action.

a couple months ago, i got back on snapchat. i took a long hiatus from the social platform. now that i’m back on it, i love it. ever since i got on a snapchat, there have been a few people who view my snaps, but have never snapped anything themselves. i get it — not everyone wants to put their life on social media, but they do wanna keep up with what everyone else is doing. that’s cool, you do you boo boo.

but recently, as i was scrolling through my “recent updates” — i noticed that someone who has been viewing my snaps finally posted something themselves. the snaps were a collection of little of an adventure in a new place. while it was fun to see this person experiencing a something new, watching the snap made me feel a little uncomfortable. out of the eight months that i’ve been on snapchat, out of the eight months that this person had been viewing my snaps, this was their first post.

it made me uncomfortable because to me it translated as this: “my life is only adventurous and worth documenting when on a trip.”

this cannot be how we live life.

this cannot be how we view an adventurous life.

if it is— we’re majorly misunderstanding adventure and everything it wants to give us.

i’ll be the first to raise my hand say that i want to have a wildly adventurous life. i strive for it. everyday. i make decisions based on the lens of adventure. yes, i want to travel the world. but i want the “in-between” days to have just as much beauty and adventure as the days where i am exploring new places and climbing mountains. they have to—or else i cannot help but feel as if i will miss the wild and extravagant life that i was intended to live. we all will.

the adventurous life is about viewing life through a new lens— it is seeing the ordinary non-hype moments, as glamorous. it’s taking a regular saturday, and making it magical with french toast and mimosas. it’s taking a plain tuesday, and turning it into a celebration of taco tuesday. it’s taking your “down-time” to go on a walk, instead of vegging out on hulu. it’s taking a city you’ve lived in for years, and choosing to explore new restaurants to dine at. it’s being creative with your tight budget and making a picnic, instead of eating out. it’s using your imagination to see the magic in each moment, instead of seeing the moments that pass by as plain.

throughout the weekend, countless times, erica told her three year old little girl, “let’s go on an adventure!” the adventures weren’t the instagram kind, the ones full of hype — but the ones that made ordinary moments something extraordinary. the adventures were taking long drives and pulling off on the side of the road in order to take a walk through a forest. they were going to the mall, modeling in the window, and tracing letters on window displays. they were stopping at mcdonald’s to get a happy meal, just because. they were raking the leaves into huge piles, then jumping off the slide and sinking into a sea of leaves. they were waking up and making pumpkin bread just to make the house smell like fall.

to three year old haven each of these moments were exciting. they were filled with giggles, starry-eyes, and ear-to-ear smiles. i cannot help but think that we need to go back and view adventure through the eyes of a child — because they understand adventure in it’s truest meaning.

an adventurous life does not equate to traveling, instagramming dreamy scenes that belong in fairytales, or experiencing a new culture. adventure cannot be boxed in and defined so easily. adventure wants to make your ordinary everyday moments worth documenting. adventuring is whispering, “come, take my hand. i’ll make your your life something grand. your day-to-day will be filled to the brim with stories and your collection of memories will be never-ending.”

i hope to God we shift our view on adventure— everything will change when we do. a couple years ago, i was living in tulsa and working as a nanny. i wanted my life to be more than it was — i wanted adventure. i remember one night, i was running,  and the thought came to me: “we cannot wait for adventure, we must go out and chase it.” i’d like to say from that day on i chased it. some days i did. sometimes, i waited around for it — thinking adventuring was equivalent to traveling. there were times when my bank account did not support my grand ideas to travel — but despite the questionably low dollar amount showing in my available balance, i made adventure my thing. i made adventure a way of living, more than an action that happened on occasion.

this is my two-part challenge, to myself and you:

one, let’s stop idolizing adventure. it was created to be weaved into our lives, not to be an idea that we hold on a pedestal. may we learn to be content with the season that we are in, make the most of every opportunity, and be thankful for everything we have.

two, let’s change the way we see adventure. may we begin to see adventure as a way of living our daily lives, instead of a peak in our life timeline. let’s find the little daily adventures to be just as valuable as the big ones. because when all is said and done, it’s the combination that make up our lives. we’ll only experience a fraction of the adventure life has planned for us, if we discount the little ones that can happen on a daily basis. keep your eyes open. adventure is around every corner. adventure is ready to grab your hand and never let go. adventure is ready to make a commitment to you, a life long commitment. it’s not going to leave you, but you have to do your part too. you have to trade in your misconceptions of adventure for starrey eyes and an openness to anything it brings your way.

adventure chooses you. will you choose it?