Do you only have one story of adventure?

I had a conversation with a man in his 80's,  I've noticed when we talk that most of his stories are from when he was in the military--which makes me curious why? He was only in the military for a couple of years in his early twenties.  He has many other years in his life to draw from.  It makes me wonder if that was the only adventure he ever had.

No one writes stories about people sitting at home with their feet propped up.  They write stories of risk.

Military, fire fighters and police work are careers where you could actually die. (The odds of that happening at my day job in marketing are negligible.)  And something in us wants that.  We want to be the people who believe in something, then put our lives on the line to achieve it. It is the reason there are so many television shows focused on the military, firefighters and police--so we can live vicariously through their situations.

There is something about risk that is key to an adventure.

Some people tell the stories over and over of their misadventures. The time they rebelled against authority, that big night they and their friends did that crazy drunk thing, the illicit romance... But those are "fake adventures."  There is no higher purpose or calling to them.  Just a selfish sort of danger of almost getting caught. While we tell stories of this, the ones we respect--what makes a hero--is when the danger is engaged on behalf of others.

We find Doctors without Borders more interesting than stay-at-home-moms (sorry, moms).
Navy SEAL's more interesting than gardeners (again, apologies).
Detectives more interesting than office workers.

We long for this element of being part of something bigger than ourselves. And something feels very right when we engage it.

I believe there is no achieving our purpose without a high level of risk. It is so satisfying when we catch the trapeze at the other end.

And yet, there is an overwhelming pull to safety. To build our walled in castle, furnish it with throw pillows and stay put.

I'm not sure our adventures are always obvious to the outside world. There was a time when this blog was a risk for me. Writing about what I thought and felt in a way that others could read felt incredibly threatening. (Doesn't it feel like death when you put yourself out there and no one else gets you?) After eight years, I'm more comfortable now...and I'm not sure that's a good thing.

We can challenge our own boundaries and step into adventure or we can choose safety. One thing is for sure.  Very little changes about the world when we refuse to engage it, and something deep within our soul knows that we need to celebrate the ones who do with our stories.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall