I loved those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid. So many different plots and endings. You never knew what you were going to get. Until you chose every adventure that is. But then you just got another book.
I don’t know if those books shaped my adventurous outlook on life or because I was already adventurous, I was drawn to the books. Either way, adventure has been important to me for a very long time.
Aaand, a total sidenote, I encounter so few people who know what I’m talking about when I mention these books, which I think is a total shame. Also, they should write them for adults. Maybe they do. I’ve never looked… Okay just Googled it and found out they do exist for adults!
Now, back to the lecture at hand:
I simply cannot do the same thing, go to the same place, see the same things for very long. I only managed to ever stay in a 9-5 job for a grand total of 2 ½ years. Usually about six months in, the monotony tried to kill me. I did my best to convince myself that if so many others could do it, so could I. But it was destroying my soul. It just wasn’t for me. Stability and security have never been enough. Plus there’s no job or career field that’s fail proof.
So here I am doing what I do. On my own terms (For the most part. Even entrepreneurs have obligations to others.). No day is ever the same. While at times that’s incredibly overwhelming and exhausting, it’s also exhilarating and wholly fulfilling. Anytime I question what the eff am I doing with my life and career, I imagine walking into the same office day after day having to ask other grownups for time off. Works every time and I’m back to choosing my own adventure.
It isn’t always easy to do this in real life. Adventure is challenging. Whether it’s starting your own business, bringing a new idea to your boss, going back to school, getting married, having children, traveling the world, learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby, whatever it is, it isn’t easy.
And it’s scary. We can never fully know how something is going to turn out. Where our choices are going to lead us. So sometimes we choose not to adventure. What we already know seems like a safer choice. But as human beings we’re wired to learn and grow. We have to do this in order to feel fulfilled and believe that life has meaning. If we don’t do this we feel bored, anxious, and depressed. And who wants that.
Now I know how I adventure isn’t for everyone. I’ve had some friends say they’d never travel with me because they’d just want to sit on a beach and drink mojitos and I’d drag them up some mountain. While I’m almost certainly that person who would die first in a horror movie, I can also enjoy the less extreme adventures in life and have many suggestions for those of you who’d like the benefits of adventure, but prefer to get your toes wet first:
Yep, as in the navigation app. I use this as often as I can. Not only because sometimes it gets me where I need to go faster, but also because it almost always takes me through a neighborhood I’ve never been to. And my take on driving is that if I have to be doing it, I’m going to try to have fun doing it. So if pretending to be an explorer is what it takes, by golly I’ll do it!
Read a New Book
Or watch a new movie/tv show. Listen to a new album or podcast. Whatever your form of consuming ideas is, branch out to different genres or randomly choose something and see if you like it. One of my favorite games is “Netflix Roulette,” where you close your eyes, push your remote’s scroll button, and when you stop, watch whatever you land on. You can do this with all other forms of entertainment as well. I don’t always go with the choice, but at least I’ve seen that something new exists. And sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised.
Cook Something New
I’m never going to be a Michelin chef, but at times I get some enjoyment from mixing ingredients together and consuming something delicious once it’s done. Or tossing it in the trash if the experiment didn’t work out and ordering pizza.
You can try the game “Recipe Roulette” with this too. Or another great way to get creative in the kitchen is to not go to the grocery store until you absolutely can’t put another edible meal together (Although, my caveat to this one is that fresh fruits and vegetables are very important for our health so exceptions for those can be made.). This requires some out-of-the-box thinking. Or you can hack that with these apps.
Take Up a New Physical Activity
I mean if you’re going to be cooking more you might be eating more so exercising more might be helpful…
Yet so many people hate working out. I find this fascinating because our bodies are made to move. It’s absolutely necessary for our physical and mental health. My personal theory is people hate working out because they aren’t doing the right physical activity for them. So freaking find one you enjoy. And keep trying until you do. Get a ClassPass or something similar and play “Exercise Roulette.” As long as you’re moving your body it doesn’t matter what you’re doing.
I was almost hesitant to suggest this because I’ve gotten a lot of negative feedback from people who’ve used it. The main complaints have been flakiness, awkward encounters with leaders and other participants, and difficulty connecting with others who attend.
While it makes sense that there might be some social awkwardness given that it’s much safer for those with social anxiety to initially connect through the Internet and then not know how to do so in real life, I still think there’s some potential here. The adventure is in meeting the new people (however awkward or not they are) or trying a new activity. For the record I’ve also heard some positive feedback as well so it might be trying out multiple groups until you find one that works for you. Again, I highly suggest “Meetup Roulette.”
I guess what all this comes down to is when craving adventure simply play some form of (safe) roulette. Let someone or something else make a random choice for you and see where it goes. Worst case scenario, you never do it again. At least let’s hope that’s the worst case. Kidding! I kid. Best case scenario, life is exciting and you grow as a person. So get on out there and adventure all you closet explorers you!
P.S. This is all free!