The following is entirely true and tells the tale of the battle between crazy and inspired adulting.
It is a Friday morning and I am slogging through my work email inbox on what is supposed to be my spring break. I have been feeling itchy and agitated all week. Do you ever have the feeling you just need to run? By run, I do not mean exercise, I mean a deep seeded need to wander.
I start with the obvious, letting my mind wander, checking social media seems logical. I see one of my dear college friends checking in at San Francisco International Airport and is heading to Arizona; enter wandering phase two. I spend the next two hours checking flights to Phoenix and picturing myself with a cocktail by the pool. I go back and forth fighting with my scheduled responsible self and my long-time-gone college self that remembers freedom and spontaneity. Turns out, I favor growing older not up and the next thing I know I am packing a bag and on the open road to Arizona.
Crazy right? You are thinking good for you, life must be all unicorns and rainbows where you live, it is just not that easy. That is a true and partially valid reaction, however, I would like to present the circumstances where you can Photoshop yourself into this ridiculous and amazing adventure.
- You Must Have the RIGHT People in Your Tribe. First, you must have friends that are flexible and inclusive. It is not all friends that embrace and appreciate social media stalking and surprise visits. As you get older, these friends are increasingly rare, cherish them. Second, your partner must get you. They must get you in all of your complexities and understand that there are times when you have to put yourself first for sanity's sake. Nobody is better off having an agitated and passive aggressive other half around.
- Give Yourself Permission to Wander. It is ok to free yourself from what you "should be doing". Many of us are hesitant to step out of their regular roles and routines. The idea of spontaneity and the unknown can be uncomfortable and scary, do it anyway you will be better for it.
- Picture the Worse Case Scenario. As you consider putting yourself out there, what is the worst thing that can happen? When I played this scenario out here is what I came up with: my friend could have said no, my husband could have said no, I could break down somewhere between home and Arizona. All of these outcomes were survivable. The act of committing to spontaneity whether it happened or not is still a fun and invigorating ride.
To assume that those in our social networks having adventures have more money, more time and fewer obligations is a bit of an exaggeration. In my case, I said YES to the unthinkable, absurd and unexpected. I got on my unicorn and rode the rainbow to Arizona. (not really, but you get the idea)
Spontaneous adventures can be big and small, the clarity and growth you seek may not be convenient, but may be in a city far away, out our back door, in the mountains, or a beach across many oceans.
I walk away from this adventure knowing a few things:
Stretching beyond your comfort zone and saying yes more often keeps you young and flexible.
Never underestimate your tribe; you picked them for a reason they "get" you.
Lastly and most importantly, if you approach life with curiosity and gratitude; you never know where the day will take you.