Adventure is the AED kit for our mind
Though we may not realize it, humans have only a certain amount of decision making power each day - some of it is used up deciding which outfit we will wear today, some is spent deciding what to have for breakfast... all throughout the day, our mind is engaging choice after choice, weighing options, thumbing through the files of our mental history to find the best solution for our life in the moment. As the day wears on, we drain that mental resource across the vast number of decisions we make every hour.
This is why, when we get home from work after a long day, we're ready to collapse and veg out in front of the TV.
Our body's natural conservation mechanism is in habits - routine.
Have you ever been driving home from work, look up and realize that you're pulling into your driveway but you don't remember three-quarters of the drive?
Or have you ever turned off the alarm clock, rolled out of bed, turned on the coffee pot and gotten in the shower before you realized you were actually up?
Breathing vs. A Rocket Launch
These routines in our lives are our mind's clever way of retaining its vitality throughout the day. If it can turn certain parts of our day into a "low-power, background application" instead of launching NASA's rockets every time we're faced with a decision, we're able to get a lot of mundane tasks done without draining ourselves.
Adventure disrupts the flow of daily life, forces you out of your routines and engages your mind with all hands on deck. At first glance, you might be wondering why we would want to disrupt a perfectly good system of conserving our mental stamina. I'm glad you're concerned! However, hidden in the middle of the User's Manuel, your mind has a warning about routines - if used for too long, the mind will turn to mush. Perhaps it's not quite that dramatic but the gist remains true. Our minds, in order to remain strong and active, must be stimulated by new experiences and wonderment. It must be jolted out of its lethargic state with a sharp contrast to normality.
Adventure is the AED kit for our mind.
The moral of the story is, the next time you jump into a cold river be sure to shout "CLEAR!"
Adventure is a necessary part of your quest to live well as it throws a proverbial wrench in the cogs of the daily grind. In the consistency of work schedules and routines we often become paralyzed - unable to move and jump at opportunity. It's the reason people become bored and finally, boring. It's the reason people become disenchanted with life. It's the reason they forget there is a world to be seen beyond their commute to work each morning.
As Jason Silva so passionately describes in his video, "Happiness Lives in the New,"
Though I encourage routine (particularly during the first hour of the day), I don't want to monotonously preach its merits and unintentionally slight the magic and wonder of adventure. It is absolutely critical to our rejuvenation - to our enthusiasm for grasping at life with child-like eyes, perpetually open in ravenous wonderment.
Welcome to Big Boy Life
I recently was hired on with a wonderful company that inspires and feeds my creative mind, yet with this job comes the responsibility of showing up to work during the week (imagine that!). At least for the time being, no more running off across the world or jumping into Fairy Pools. I count myself incredibly blessed to work in the environment that I do - some are not quite as fortunate. So how, in the cyclical routine of life, do we find a moment to go off-road? How do we welcome adventure back into our lives?
From easiest to most difficult, here are three ways I believe you can make the most of your time.
1. Evening Adventures
Do not estimate the impact of simply getting out of the house. A mere few hours of walking on grass instead of pavement, of sitting on a stump instead of a couch, of feeling the warmth of a fire on your face and the bite of the cold on your back is enough to revitalize your mind.
Walk through the park, take a dip in the creek, lay in the grass, close your eyes and simply listen. Try to pick out the different sounds of life around you.
2. Overnight Adventures
Though slightly harder to do, you can still pull this one off, even mid-week! Especially when warmer weather comes around, grab your sleeping bag, pillow and some makin's for S'mores and go to the nearest place you can legally make a fire.
Spend the night there - right on the ground! There are very few experiences as good as poking your head out of your sleeping bag or hammock and watching the sun poke its head from beneath the earth.
I picked up my hammock just this week and slept in my backyard. I didn't have to get out of town or even out of my neighborhood but looking up at the stars, listening to the wind rustle the leaves and feel the cool, night air on my face was enough.
3. Weekend Adventures
I know, I know, I know. You have stuff to do on the weekends. Eventually, you're going to not have something to do and then you'll have no excuse so do yourself a favor and just do it.
If you're plans for the weekend included friends, drag them along with you - it'll be more fun anyway! Spend a couple of days away from technology, away from car exhaust, away from concrete and just enjoy each others company.
Rent out a cabin if the tent thing doesn't appeal to you - I don't much care. The point is to break up your routine and engage the new.
Happy adventuring =)
Jacob Jolibois is the founder of The Archer's Guild. He has a habit of starting a large number of projects and is oddly enthusiastic about Disney. Ultimately, he's hoping to rid the world of mediocrity, lots of people at a time (one is too slow). Recently, he backpacked across 11 countries with Micah Webber.