Below is something I wrote 3 years ago. Although I wrote this a while back, like a lot of the stuff I write, I don’t think I ever shared it. I am only sharing it now because of a conversation I had with a friend last night. It’s a fun read and I promise it is worth your time.
January 1, 2016 – 2015 is done! Wow, what a ride. Was it perfect? No, but there are so many ways it could have been worse. For me, 2015 was full of adventure. Some of the adventures I chose and a couple of my adventures chose me.
When it comes to adventure, Jon Krakauer is the master. He has written some amazing books. Jon’s words can move mountains. So, here is one of my favorite passages from Krakauer’s book Into The Wild. Click here for a quick summary of the book. If you haven’t read the book, you should. To set this up, Chris McCandless is giving advice to a person named Ron. By the way, this is a true story;
I’d like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think that I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover. Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience. You are wrong if you think joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.
Powerful words and now a word of caution about this book. In the end, things did not work so great for McCandless. I stop there as I don’t want to spoil the book in case you plan on reading it. In no way am I advocating that you or I abandon our current life and move to Alaskan in order to live off the grid in a bus. I just think there are bits and pieces in the passage above that can be molded into the life we have in order to make it better. Here’s a term for you; Stable, but miserable. Is this a descriptor that fits some or all of the life you are currently living? Well, it doesn’t have to that way. Too often I hear people say, “I’d give anything to be happy.” I would like to reply by saying, “Now would you? And does anything include everything?” Hell, I’ve known people who were crying about being broke, but pay $100 a month for cable TV and $500 a month for a truck. In the end, it really all does come down to how bad do you want it. Happiness is cheaper than you think.
In closing, here’s to a happy and healthy 2016. Don’t be afraid to go into the wild. Be bold and I hope you Find Your Adventure and Live Your Life.
PS – Another great book by Jon Krakauer is Into Thin Air.