Three Tiny Adventures You Can Take Every Day
The season of adventuring in Iowa is so very close. The school year is wrapping-up, the days are getting longer and warmer, and our family’s first camping trip is on the calendar. Spare time over the next few weeks will be spent making plans for other summer adventures: a few day trips around the state for some hiking and paddling, weekend trips to explore new State Parks, a trip west to Colorado to visit family and enjoy the mountains. I love planning our summer adventures. It’s exciting to consider all the possibilities and counting down the days until we load the car and GO!
Women on Adventures was built around the idea of stepping outside of one’s own comfort zone, in a safe and supportive environment, to experience life beyond. Beyond the day-to-day. Beyond the expected. Maybe even beyond the story you have created as your definition of self. I also believe that adventure can be about nurturing the parts of ourselves that we don’t get to regularly flex in our day-to-day life. With that idea of adventure in mind, would it be possible to intentionally insert a little adventure into our lives on a daily? I believe so. Following are 3 ideas for adding tiny moments of adventure into your daily life.
Challenge a Habit
Humans are creatures of habit. Granted routines are often adopted to help make our day-to-day activities as efficient as possible. My morning routine helps to insure I get to work on time. The order in which I wash dishes helps make sure that everything fits neatly in the drying rack. My bedtime routine helps my mind slow down at day’s end in preparation for sleep. But chances are we all have habits that serve no other purpose than comfort. Raise your hand if you always order the same thing at your favorite restaurant. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.) Or maybe you always take the same route to a destination even when time is not an issue. Have you ever thought about, for no other reason than to be different, not letting habit dictate your decisions for a day? Go ahead, order that menu item you’ve always wondered about. Turn down that side street you’ve never driven down. Walk backwards through the grocery store. (Okay, now maybe I have gone a bit too far.)
Reach Outside Your Circle
I’m an introvert, through and through. My social circle is small. I’m okay with that fact. At the same time I greatly value community, both locally and globally. I’m not sure exactly when I started to reach outside my social comfort zone to make even a brief connections with total strangers in casual day-to-day activities, but it happened. And while you can’t predict how someone else will react when you randomly compliment them on their tattoo, or offer up some change in the checkout line at the store while they are searching for just the right amount, or ask to pet someone’s adorable dog, generally speaking I can’t think of a single specific example of an outreach gone bad. In fact, more times than not, simple unexpected social exchanges have left me feeling a little more connected to humanity in general, even if my interaction with that one specific person was but a fleeting moment. So go ahead, smile and wave at the driver in the car next to you at the stop light. Hold the door for a stranger. Randomly high-five a co-worker you don’t know very well. I’m betting you can’t do so without putting a smile on both of your faces!
Sit Uncomfortably with Words
I’m a reader. There is no shortage of materials for my consumption in today’s information age. I happen to prefer actual print materials (mostly books and the occasional magazine), but I do my fair share of reading online as well; blogs, social media links, suggested news articles. The recent divisive political climate makes me VERY uncomfortable. I’ve found myself breaking out of my safe little conflict-avoider-shell to voice and defend my beliefs on several hot button topics more and more over the past few years. But as I have done so, I have tried to honestly and openly explore alternative points of view. It’s not easy reading an opinion piece or news article that supports a stance counter to your own. It’s even harder to sit with the discomfort that arises while doing so rather than reacting defensively to prove why you are on the “right” side of the argument. I believe sitting with that discomfort has value in helping us to be more compassionate beings even in the face of disagreement. I think it helps us to be more empathetic to individuals in this world whose life experience differs greatly from our own. It allows us to grow as individuals, as a global community, and to find peaceful coexistence not despite of, but because of our many differences. Don’t know where to start? This book challenged me in some very unexpected ways, and I am so thankful for the discomfort made me face.