Life is More Than an Adventure

9 Nov

“Make life an adventure”, this is the new advice that has become so fashionable amongst life-gurus. Following their advice is supposed to lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. But is it really possible to make life an adventure? If so, what sort of adventures are we supposed to be pursuing? And will the adventures really lead to long-term happiness and fulfillment? I am starting to think otherwise…

As I mentioned last week, I have been feeling unhappy in the city (and hence country) to which I moved ten months ago. I came up with a billion reasons for my unhappiness, many of which I am currently trying to resolve. Yet one reason, so deep in my subconscious, went unnoticed:

I could be unhappy because I do not want to accept my new life in this new place as my real life. I want to see it as an adventure, as something temporary, as something with only positive experiences, as something that falls from the sky and takes no effort, as something that will be short and awesome, as something from which I will take away only good memories.

But my life in this new city is far from all those things. My life, although filled with moments of joy, love and discovery, also contains boredom, frustration, confusion, failure, doubt and apathy.

And that is what I am having a hard time coming to terms with: my big move is not just a big adventure, it is real life.

Avoiding real life has been my favourite hobby since the age of 13. It started with escapism through books, then through hanging out on park benches, then through week-ends of virtual chat, then nights spent clubbing and days spent sleeping, then driving to new places and visiting new countries. All of these activities always included obsessive hunts for adventure. Something out of the ordinary, something exciting, something to get an adrenaline rush, something forbidden, something naughty.

Adventure was my drug.

In my moments of ecstasy I felt on top of the world. Adventure makes you feel like you can do anything, be anything, achieve anything. Without adventure, I would fall on a low. I needed to get my weekly dose, otherwise life seemed empty, pointless, colourless. I didn’t know how to love life without adventure, just like I’d never heard anyone say that they got drunk on air.

Although my life slowed down naturally a few years ago, taking on a calmer and more sober rhythm, I always had adventure at the back of my mind. I proclaimed being clean, all the while craving one more shot. Just one more coincidence, one more encounter or one more dare.

Adventure. The word’s synonyms include danger and risk, chance, fortune and luck.

How can we “make our life an adventure” if an adventure is often something out of our control?

Adventure often falls onto us when we least expect it or takes on a form we could have never imagined. Adventure is Tinkerbell – flying around without sense or reason, sprinkling its magic dust on whoever happens to be in the way.

But life isn’t like that.

A happy and fulfilling life requires effort, energy and time. A happy and fulfilling life requires faith and hope. It needs strength and courage. It demands endurance and stamina. It can’t do without patience and perserverance.

Life does bring adventures and exciting experiences, but life is not made up of them. Poppies may grow in a field, making it all the more beautiful, but other flowers grow there too. These other flowers include joy, love and surprise, as well as hard work, disappointment and doubt. To define life as an adventure would be to only allow room for a field full of poppies.

For these past months, I wanted to be a passer by, a visitor and a guest in this new city – taking only the best and not staying for long enough to give or recieve a negative impression.  I wanted my life to be an adventure, and became disappointed when new experiences soon turned into everyday routine.

Now is the time to realise that, just like a field with many varieties of flowers, life is much more colourful than just an ‘adventure’. From now on I will focus on creating a rich real life in my new city, by becoming a part of the community, by making an effort to understand the local people and their lives, and by embracing both the highs and lows of life in an unknown land.

I welcome ‘real life’ with open arms!



9 Responses to “Life is More Than an Adventure”

  1. The Dubious Seeker 09/11/2011 at 16:41 #

    This is a thought-provoking post. It’s nice to know there are people like you who believe that life is more than a fleeting ecstasy, and we should embrace life exclusively. And I guess, sometimes, people prefer adventure in order to avoid reality and not cope with real and honorable things in life.

    Thank you for this wonderful post!

    • l0ve0utl0ud 10/11/2011 at 23:57 #

      Yes, life is more than just those moments that bring instantenous excitement and short-term happiness. But it’s often difficult to prioritise long-term happiness, especially with the thrill-seeking and instant-gratification culture that exists at the moment. But the first step is recognition, the rest follows 🙂

  2. cperigen 09/11/2011 at 18:11 #

    I appreciate your frustration with turning your adventurous life into a more real life experience. It is hard for me to be content in my daily life after having been on a wonderfully exhilarating adventure. I would like to challenge you that adventure CAN BE reality. It can be a part of your daily life. The key isn’t to choose one or the other. The key is to understand how real life and adventure fit together. You said, “How can we “make our life an adventure if an adventure is often something out of our control?”. Adventures are not always experiences out of your control. The most effective and life-changing adventures are those in which you realize your control and your ability to meet life goals. It’s also a way for you to actualize your ability to your strongest potential (self-efficacy).

    My partner and I have kind of made a “hobby career” out of showing others how adventure is part of your daily life – if you allow it. And it’s a necessary part for us to feel fulfilled. Look into the theory of flow – and read about Outdoor Education approaches. Life can be a balance of adventure…within your daily life.

    Thanks for the honesty in your blog. I really enjoyed reading about your experience, feelings and the struggle for contentment in your daily life in the city.


    • l0ve0utl0ud 10/11/2011 at 23:54 #

      Dear Christine, Thank you very much for your interesting comment. I will take a look at the links you recommended and will let you know my thoughts about the idea of adventure being a part of every day life. I did not try to say that daily life is devoid of adventure; the point I was trying to make is that life is more than just a collection of moments that bring short-term happinss and fleeting thrills. I apologise if I did not explain this properly. Looking forwward to reading your blogs.

  3. Charlotte 09/11/2011 at 20:46 #

    You are absolutely right. I’ve been building my life around adventure too and I also felt frustrated and then apathetic when It wasn’t there.
    The one person who taught me that every book has it’s “boring” parts was Bertrand Russell and you’ve reminded me of that today. So thanks, it couldn’t have came in a better moment as I’m in a very similar place.

    Yes hard work and patience are crucial when faced with moments like these.

    Cheer up!

    • l0ve0utl0ud 10/11/2011 at 23:48 #

      Yes, every book does have its boring parts! Glad to have reminded you of something that you needed at this moment in time.

  4. nrhatch 09/11/2011 at 22:22 #

    View life with alert curiosity . . . and adventures will fill your days.

  5. Deborah the Closet Monster 12/11/2011 at 13:42 #

    It sounds like our progressions through life have been very similar.

    When I first started a “real” job, I felt inhibited in my adventure-seeking. I was uncomfortable and sure the end was nigh.

    I had some amazing times when I’d hop on a plane just because I felt like it. But I have amazing times now, putting hard work and love into every day and reaping the benefits of that in “shirt kisses” (don’t know why my son loves these so much, but they work for me) and leg hugs.

    • l0ve0utl0ud 14/11/2011 at 21:35 #

      It sounds like you have and create a lot of joy in your everyday life. Short bursts of excitement and adrenaline can hardly make up for the long-term happiness we build through hard work, patience and hope. Wishing you simple joys and peace.

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