Tag Archives: Adventure

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!

 

Friends for Friendship, Not for Fear

7 Jun

For the past few weeks I have been surprisingly unsettled and it is only today that I found the most probable reason for this anxiety. Next week, three of my closest friends are coming to visit me in my new country, my new city and my new life. Amongst organising our long week-end, amongst looking forward to spending time with them and hearing their stories about the past four months, I am filled with fear.

What will they think of my new life? What will they think of the way I have changed? What will they think of my new views and my new reflections? What will they think of my new worries and my new problems?

I realised that my anxiety comes down to own fear: I am scared that my friends will not like my new life. Or, to put it straight, I am scared that my friends will not love the new me.

These are friends with whom I had my wildest days at university. These are the girls with whom I shared high heels and short dresses; they are the ones who curled my hair and did my make-up before a night out. With these girls I danced on tables and talked to too many strangers. These are the friends who would sit wide-eyed and open-mouthed while I told them about my week-end. These are the friends who are used to a girl whose every minute is filled with activity.

When they arrive next week, my friends will see a girl with barely any make-up on. They will hear a calm voice telling them about a life spent riding bikes, taking walks in parks, watching sunsets, picking wild flowers, going to local markets, taking photos of nature, writing in bed, reading on the balcony and imitating owls. They will find a girl that keeps to herself and is sometimes shy in social situations. They will find a girl that likes to share thoughts on life and death, friendship and love. They will find a girl that is the most confused, yet the most content she has ever been.

When I realised that the cause of my anxiety is a fear of rejection, I thought about how I could make the best of the week-end that I will spend with my friends, without letting insecurity ruin special moments. I immediately remembered a wonderful post I’d read about welcoming guests, and I realised that this is not a time for fear, but a time for love. These are precious days in which I can share my joy, laughter and positivity with people who mean the most to me. These are moments in which I should be giving and sharing, not taking. These are times when I am supposed to be being honest and open, and not trying to impress or Friends Hugging on Beachentertain. This is an opportunity to show my friends how much they mean to me, and not to expect proof of friendship from them.

Fear will most certainly always reside in my heart, but the best thing I can do is to respond with love. So I’ll stop fretting about the broken tiles in my bathroom and the ugly chest of drawers in the living room. I will stop worrying about not knowing the best restaurants or liveliest bars. I will forget about learning the city inside out or getting the best deals for days out. Instead, I will simply do my best to welcome my friends with open arms and give them my open heart.

A New Country, A New Adventure!

3 Mar

Three weeks ago, I moved to a new country. I packed all of my essentials into one suitcase and set off to start a new life. The lifestyle in my new environment is different to the one I’m used to in one of the world’s central capitals, which means that I have felt a bit lost and confused at times. However, once I remind myself of the reasons for which I decided to move,  I am able to see what a wonderful and exciting opportunity this is.

I am here to…

  • be with the person I love
  • be independent
  • have a calmer lifestyle
  • be closer to nature
  • discover a new place
  • discover a different way of living
  • meet new people
  • lead a more active and outdoor lifestyle
  • have more fresh air
  • grow my own flowers and herbs (in the outdoor space that I now have)
  • be in a warmer climate
  • cycle
  • spend time in the countryside
  • buy fresh food from local producers
  • …and so – eat better food
  • have a new challenge (of starting life in a new place)
  • go on road trips
  • take evening walks on the beach
  • lead a simpler life

Let this adventure begin!