All of us have experienced stress, fear and anxiety. These feelings are unpleasant and so we set our lives up to avoid or minimize them as much as possible. We do this by creating routines and conforming to other’s expectations so we can feel safe and minimize problems, stress and worry.
This is good to a point. We need stability and predictability in our lives. We need to feel a certain degree of comfort and safety. But sometimes we fall into such a routine that we miss out on much of what life has to offer. In our attempt to avoid anxiety, pain, loss and failure, we also miss out on variety, excitement, adventure…even joy and love.
Think about your life. Have you grown complacent? Has life become too easy? Are you coasting rather than growing? Where are you on the scale of security vs. adventure?
Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.”
Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but a good point nonetheless.
This consideration was an important part of our decision to move to India. I wrote a blog post a few years back, as my wife and I were hiking a mountain trail in Colorado, about how well we were living our values and priorities. I knew at the time that I wanted to make some changes.
So here we are in India, living in a simple flat, using public transportation on congested roads, buying our food in outdoor markets, dodging cows and dogs on the way back home, walking colorful, noisy and narrow streets past hundreds of vendors selling every product imaginable, entering narrow passage ways, climbing steep curving dark staircases and sitting in one and two room homes talking to people, usually via a translator, in a language we don’t understand. Most importantly, here we are forming loving connections with people whose culture we are only beginning to understand.
There have been many times when I’ve done a 360 of my surroundings and felt a need to pinch myself to make sure it is real. There are many moments I can’t help but laugh in amazement (like when our “auto” driver—think three-wheeled motorized rickshaw—takes an abrupt detour onto the sidewalk to get us home a little faster and squeeze a few more rupees out of his day.) What a country!
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you make radical changes or abandon the life you’ve created. You’ve most likely fashioned a life that works for you and brings quite a bit of satisfaction. You don’t need to give this up.
But I would ask you to consider if you’ve found the right balance. How satisfied will you be at the end of your life as you look back on what you’ve done and experienced? What passions and dreams have you ignored? What interests or hobbies have you neglected? What could you do to break out of a rut and bring more adventure into your life?
I say stop waiting. Identify something, even a little thing. And go for it!
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