Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Art of Adventure

A shortly upcoming blog will focus on my newly arrived bag of goodies from DIY-Gear Supply and Thru-Hiker.  I have all sorts of high-tek insulation and fabrics to construct some wonderful camping goodies.  A 9x9 tarp, bivy sack, quilt, and ultralight vest are on the bill as I prepare for the possibility for a week long trek in the Himalayas later this year.  Adventure has always been a ethereal concept for me.  I love to be outdoors in the piney woods.  I love the hidden life concealed in the chaparral of yuccas and Joshua Trees.  I love the majestic beauty of sand-dunes and the limitless expanse of the ocean at sunset.  I've never, however, been a fan of heights and going anywhere approaching high speeds.  I burned out the brake pads of my bike at least 5 times faster than my friends.  One of our common weekend rituals was to ride down the steepest hills in our neighborhood or the sharp cut terraces of the Southern California landscape being scarred into suburbia.  It is strange how as a kid those hills seemed so steep as you were frantically squeezing the brakes and feeling the panic ride up within you as you tried to look cool and confident screeching down the asphalt decline to road burn hell.  As an adult I have revisited those hills and realized not only are they scary steep and I was too easily influenced by my peers.  My friends loved flying down those hills on their bikes or sitting atop a skateboard doing poor man's street luge.  I was continually horrified and in my panic often bailed at the worst and most painful time.  Knowing the limitations of my impaired coordination and obese pre-adolescent frame adventure to me was humiliating and more often than not physically painful.

During my memorable 5 month stint with the boy scouts I was shocked at how difficult it was to backpack and canoe with the other kids.  Now I am shocked that not only did I fit so much junk in my backpack but that I was able to carry it at all.  I loved being outside, I love being remote, I just don't respond well to dangerous situations.  As I nerd I have decided that education and what I carry between my ears relieves some of those fears and mitigates the opportunity for disaster.  Nothing that I carry in my brain, however, will make jumping out of a helicopter with a set of skis on a remote mountaintop alluring to me.  You let me grow out a beard and hermit in the mountains with a few like-minded people and I am in nerdboy heaven.

I love the idea of loving dangerous adventure.  I watch lots of documentaries, play extremely exiting miniature games, and die horrible gory deaths on violent video games.  I love to vicariously experience danger and mimic that elusive co-existent virtue: courage.  I want to out danger Bear Grills in a Risk Off.  I want to be a man who faces his life, from the adventurous to the mundane, with dignity and courage.  I want to stand firm in the face of the boar of life.  As a nerd in the IT world my cubicle doesn't allow me many opportunities at dangerous adventure.  I think many of us in the professional world have allowed our safe lives to wear down our capacity for courage.  Suddenly our big risks involve office politics and meeting quotas.  Just as living in the 3rd world redefines one's use of the word "poor," particularly in a self-inflected sense, so living without adventure atrophies our sense of personal courage.

Something deep within me has decided that 2014 is the beginning of a more adventurous life.  I will put myself in a place to view nature in all of her exposed beauty.  I will allow for opportunities for catastrophic failure.  I will allow myself the opportunities for real and measurable success.  I'm totally stoked about the chance to go into the highest mountain range in the world.  But I am more exited to live a life that exposes itself to real risk with only the protective hand of God surrounding me.  To lay aside the safe way of life that threatens to not only corrode my sense of courage but to force me into a small life.

I have often thought that relationships are like a diagram of a wave.  If it stays constantly in the middle there is no opportunity for hurt below the line.  But that also forces a limit on the opportunity for love.  The last 10 years of my life I have been married to the world's most wonderful woman.  in the beginning of our relationship it was very difficult for me to transition from a chain of broken hearts in high-school to risking total and utter devastation by becoming involved with a woman that I was falling truly and irrevocably in love with.  It was the greatest risk of my life.  Taking that risk, embracing the pain and insecurity of those early days has lead me to a life of greater fulfillment than I could ever have imagined before I met her.  She has given me 3 beautiful children and raised them to be pretty close to perfect kids.  The greatest risk has lead to the greatest payoff.  Now, on the verge of my 30th year of life, I am finally ready to live life with the same kind of abandon.  To finally step forward into a life that allows for triumphs and defeats.  The same life has left me stressed and seeing my failures as daunting and my obligations overwhelming because there are no balancing victories.  There is very little that I have truly had to battle for.  Nothing that carries the inherent value of a trophy smeared with one's own blood washed clean only be sweat and tears.

Alea iacta est

Or for you nerds out there:
Dovie'andi se tovya sagain

Who is with me?

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