Did you ever read The Choose Your Own Adventure Series? When I was a little girl, I was an avid bookworm. One of the many series I read was one which allowed the reader to be the main character of each novel by having him or her decide what happens next in the story simply by flipping to specified pages in the books. Readers would decide what action one would take as the story’s protagonist and then flip to the page that revealed the consequences of one’s decision. These books were a lot of fun to me and I even remember trying to write my own Choose Your Own Adventure Series when I was growing up! Did you ever do things like that?
I got to thinking (a dangerous thing, I know!) about how The Choose Your Own Adventure Series is like an analogy for life. Every day, we make many decisions that will change the outcome of our day; and ultimately, our lives. Every day is an adventure. If your life is mundane and boring to you: just work and then home everyday, this was your choice. Our lives, our days, for the most part, are what we make of them sprinkled with bits of chance. There’s always the chance that something will change or happen whatever choices you make. The more open to the new, mysterious and unexpected, one is each day, the greater the chance one will experience inner or outer revelations and/ or adventures. To be mindful/ present, is to be open.
On the days that I am present/ mindful and open to new adventures, I may take a different route home from work, try a new flavor latte that I don’t usually order or cook something I have not yet tried. I may just be minding my own business shopping and bump into a childhood friend I hadn’t spent time with in two decades… Try a mantra meditation I have not tried yet or play an old tune on the piano I have not played in a while…It always sounds different, just like every sunrise or star rise is different. The possibilities are endless. It takes less than 24 hours to change your life. You could walk in and quit your job in only a few seconds or make a life-changing phone call right now. Every moment is an opportunity for adventure. You just have to be present.
I do have days when I am living only in my daydreams and have no idea what I’ve had for lunch, if I’ve had lunch at all, or what I did all day. I could be thinking all day, “There’s so much to do!” and not notice my surroundings, whether people who love me are around or wanting to be around. I also have days when the smallest tasks as well as the most mundane tasks can be turned into an adventure by simply acting in a new perspective rather than out of habit. The simple act of visiting my dad and leaving my cell phone, worries and work behind for a few hours can suddenly be enjoyable rather than an obligation when my mind is present rather than in a state of worrying about the future and haste.
What do you do to keep life adventurous and your mind present? Do you go through years of monotony while just waiting for the weekend/ vacation/ retirement/ some sort of change or are you present, mindful and adventurous? Are you spontaneous and open to seeing or doing something in a new light? Or does trying new things and new perspectives take up too much energy and employ too much risk?
People often marvel and judge, “You are such an adventurous person and yet you are stuck in such a boring place.” What they don’t understand is that I never find where I am boring and I am never “stuck”! I choose where I am! You don’t have to believe your locale or your place in life is boring either! As Mary Poppins said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” I choose to be where ever I am because I can experience the fun and joy in any and every place.
*On a tangent, my ex-mother-in-law once put this random photo of a girl dancing in the rain on her Facebook and tagged it with my name. She even printed cards and sent it out claiming it was my photo. Everyone believed her!