“Let’s go on an adventure.”
These words are the most significant words of my marriage.
When we first started dating J and I were complete opposites in a lot of ways. To make it short I was/am uptight and he was/is a go with the flow guy.
During one of our first trips together we got lost driving (that’s right… our first car didn’t have GPS) and I was flustered to be late and lost and J said “let’s go on an adventure.” This pissed me off. Being lost wasn’t an adventure it was stupid and irritating.
But that was just the first time he said it. When we were bored or lost or scared or nervous at any other point in the future he would look at me and say “let’s go on an adventure.” And as we grew and our love grew this became our mantra. It turned terrible days into tolerable days and fun times into unforgettable ones.
We have said it as we’ve brought children into the world. We have said it lost in a cab in Istanbul. We have said it sitting on a beach in Hawaii while rain fell. We have said it buying a house. We have said it as we have changed jobs. At every major turning point (and some of the small, unexpected wrong turns) it has been a guiding light for us.
So as we enter a new year I want to encourage you to turn the mundane, the unexpected and the average irritation into an adventure and see where it takes you. I don’t know where I’d be without J and his optimism, but I know it wouldn’t be anywhere near the adventure I’m living today.
Don’t just wait for vacation to feel adventurous. Challenge yourself to ask constantly, “Have I gone on an adventure lately?” This can be a trip to a museum with your kids or a hike with your spouse or a workshop by yourself. It doesn’t have to cost a lot and come with an airline ticket.
Some of the best times I’ve had with my husband are doing things we didn’t plan for. Spur of the moment road trips. Drinking wine in a hotel room, watching Comedy Central Roasts after getting a flat tire. Getting lost and trying a restaurant you just stumble upon. Discovering the slopes where you intended to take the kids sledding are closed and pulling off on a random road and having the best snow day ever.
You can’t always plan for adventure. What you can do is turn ordinary moments or even frustrating miscalculations into unexpected joy.
Let Go of Control
The first few times J said “let’s go on an adventure” and I basically told him to piss off was me needing to be in control. I am still a control freak in a lot of ways, but I’ve learned to let go of it in times where it doesn’t serve me at all. NO ONE CARES THAT YOU’RE LATE. No one cares if you didn’t attend. No one cares if you’re not dressed appropriately for the occasion. No one cares CARES ABOUT YOU. And I mean that in the kindest way possible. Do not demand perfection out of your adventures because you’re much less likely to have them if you do.
My dad once purchased me zip lining tickets and with all my body I wanted to cancel. I was scared and a little upset that I was being forced to face my fear of heights. But I let go of control. I sucked up the anxiety. I had the time of my life.
“Let’s go on an adventure” isn’t a threat. It is in an invitation to let go and live free and find happiness. So in 2019… do it. And do it often.