One of the things I’ve been thinking about in the last few weeks is how many people’s lives can easily become monotonous and lose excitement and adventure, and one day they wake up and boom, that’s it, they’re old, and their life has passed them by, with a series of grey days each looking like the other.
I admit I may have a slight restlessness syndrome, and I tire and bore easily of stuff, from clothes, to places, to jobs, and even people. But… One thing Miss W loves, and craves, is adventure.
I love the feeling of the unknown, of spontaneous decisions, spur of the moment madness and last minute trips. I often feel misunderstood when I ask people whether they just want to throw caution to the wind and do something crazy, and they look at me, eyebrows raised, and say “You’re not going to do something dangerous are you?” Or, “yeah, we could do something spontaneous, but we’d have to plan it…”
Oh Lord, to what depths my heart sinks…
A few days ago I was talking about this to one of my work colleagues, who behind his grey hair hides a lifetime of exciting adventures and an acting career with stints in The Bill (!!). He told me a story of how he and a one-time girlfriend made a spontaneous trip back to their homeland after talking about how nice it would be to go home while standing in a London club. So off they went to get their car, and they drove overnight to Scotland and jumped on a ferry to Ireland to surprise their parents.
I love the feeling of thinking “f*ck it, I’m off” and suddenly getting on a plane, a bus or a train, or hopping in a car, and just turning up somewhere with absolutely no plans whatsoever. The hilarity and sense of possiblity that takes hold of you when you’re on a last minute unexpected trip, or an exciting adventure is what makes my spirit effervesce. I’m reminded of a particularly crazy event when I was travelling in the USA, when I met someone, they asked me what I was doing the next day, and I responded that I was going to a different state, and a few hours later we were booking a train ticket for them to come with me, on a whim, unexpectedly. It was one of the funnest trips of my life! We made skittle beer on the 15 hour train ride and were vehemently told off for giggling by a half-tonne southern mamma in the middle of the night.
I fervently believe that spontaneity is the balm that keeps the soul young. I like to surprise myself, and those around me, and do things out of the ordinary, with a pinch of craziness and a naughty twinkle in my eye. The unexpected is what keeps life interesting. I recently also was talking to someone I know, who was talking about their work, and mentioning how every year, in a particular month they do this particular thing, and how they had done it for the past few years. Sheeesh, it filled me with dread to think that I could ever speak like that about my life. I don’t want to expect what is going to happen every month for the next five to ten years. I want to be surprised, shocked, excited!
I read something once that said something to the effect of: you can’t live every year the same and put all the years together and pretend to call it a life. I suppose there is a value in stability, routine, the known; but I want to break with routine, with the expected, with what supposedly awaits me at each “milestone” of my life.
A few weeks ago the H and I were walking down the street and we came across a huge wooden adventure playground surrounded by fences. There were two adolescent girls playing inside. We asked them how to get in, and they indicated that we just had to climb over the fence and we’d be in. It was the most fun I’ve had for quite a while… They enouraged me to go on a rope swing, which I was terrified of but loved, and when we climbed back over the fence, I felt that I had truly lived, (and most importantly) done something somewhat naughty and unexpected, which I would never forget.
So I say, embrace the new, the unexpected, the different; the last minute…
As Mark Twain (or someone) said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
So go, do it, make a decision… What are you waiting for?