Yup, that’s right, my word for the year ahead is Adventure! I got Christmas gifts (thanks, kids) to help me take, write about, and savour new adventures. As I wrap up my day job, people wish me well on my next adventures, and – after almost two years of rarely leaving my house (okay, neighbourhood) – I am making it official: 2022 will be my year of adventure*.
*This does not preclude every other year also being full of adventures. One year at a time, people.
My adventures may be close to (in) my home, and hopefully some of them will also be further afield. I’ll see how well we can ride the omicron/booster/FFS wave as it grows and crests and crashes along with our angst.
Let’s Start with a Definition
I’m enjoying being a homebody but still want excitement, so let’s consider what defines an experience as an adventure. There’s usually an element of risk, and, well, breathing is risky these days so I can check that one off the list. Chesterton defines it as “an inconvenience rightly considered”, and yes, taking the subway the wrong direction once led me to meet the cutest NYC rat ever, but the defining bit wasn’t the inconvenience, it was the novelty.
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”G.K. Chesterton
There is such excitement to seeing, hearing, tasting, and feeling new things (I know there are five senses, but smelling new things does not sound good. Then again, nothing matches the delight of salty sea air, so I’m on the fence about including it.) That’s why my default understanding of “adventure” always equalled “travelling”.
Going to new places is the easiest way to satiate for my need-for-new, but I’m learning that it’s not the only way. A simple walk can be an adventure if I add an element of “new” to it. Trying new foods, reading new types of books, and trying new activities are all within reach, no matter the variant circulating or restrictions imposed.
I Cannot Resist
Next, why is adventure so appealing to me? I have a reflex reaction to the word. A restaurant can guarantee I’ll order a dish by including goat cheese (I don’t even read the rest of the menu if they call it chèvre; basic science says it’s tastier in french), and friends know I will join in anything they call an adventure. Resistance is futile. Adventure = yes, please, no need for dessert.
I am drawn to the celebration of any experience. The more uncertain life feels, the more I want to squeeze out of all the moments, making them matter. Enjoying an experience as an adventure means paying attention, feeling present in it, and being grateful for the chance to feel all the emotions it brings. Yes, if you convince me that helping you move will be an adventure, I will be there, mask on, finding the humour and humanity in it while I lug boxes.
❤️ The Results of Adventures
Just before the pandemic started, I found myself doing performance art (!) involving wrestling (!?) with a group of much-younger-than-me people. I was there because the artist said it would be a fun adventure. She was right, of course, and I am thrilled to say yes to the uncomfortable and unknown. I’d met the artist years earlier through her random classified ad for a school project, and I’ve had other adventures through ads (The Joy of Quirky Kijiji) – one favourite started with “Buckle up, this is a weird one,” – again, resistance is futile, bring me the chèvre. You may be relieved (or not, maybe you like drama) to know that I stay off dating apps, can you imagine the trouble I’d get into?
One of my most cherished friendships started on a work-related drive that went wrong, and therefore so right.
What adventures will 2022 bring? Inconveniences for sure, and planned fun too, maybe even a few trips. Because I’ll have more time and flexibility, I’m building routines to include things I like having in my life – family & friends, outdoors, exercise, writing – and the big word I’m taping to the front of my notebook? ADVENTURE. Every day, I’ll find a way to rightly consider doing something new.
Happy New Year, everyone!!