My STARword for 2013 is ADVENTURE.
Much like last year’s word, PRACTICE, I wasn’t so thrilled when it chose me.
Because I am not, particularly, an adventurous person. I am a home-body. I have never been particularly adventurous. A famous family story involves a 7 year old Marci refusing to cross the border to Tijuana on a Christmas vacation. (The fact that my parents didn’t just put my pathetic self in a car and take me with them is one of the mysteries of my life. But that’s another story. Maybe next year’s word will be “bullheaded”.)
When people at church saw my word, a number of them said something to the effect of, “Wow! I guess you’ll be skydiving this year!”
While jumping out of a perfectly good airplane may be someone’s idea of adventure, it is not mine. My idea of adventure is leaving the house. My idea of adventure is to do something I’m not good at–like cross country skiing (but only on relatively safe and flat surfaces in good conditions). If I’m really feeling adventurous, I’ll wear a swim suit in public or something equally radical.
I’ve recognized my non-adventurous tendencies for a long time. And some days I am okay with them. I have injured my knee playing football, but I’ve never broken a bone. I read a lot, which doesn’t require an adventurous spirit. I like to keep people safe. I wear seatbelts. Always.
I am Bilbo Baggins, from the Hobbit.
When trying to get rid of Gandalf after he has invited him on an adventure, Bilbo replies:
“Good morning!” he said at last. “We don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.” By this he meant that the conversation was at an end.
But it can be limiting to be as un-adventurous as I am at heart. I didn’t study abroad in college. Wish I would have. In 4th or 5th grade, I once hid in a hedge rather than talk to a boy on whom I had a HUGE crush all through school. Really. You can ask Sarah Wolf. I hid in a shrub. Not my finest moment.
And so, on my better days, I leave the house. I try new things. Last year I took an improv class. That was adventure.
There are many reasons I love my husband. Myriad. But I think one of the reasons I was drawn to him is the way he enjoys life. He is willing to take on just about any adventure. Kayaking on the Payette? He’s your man. Back country skiing? Yes.
And I am not likely to become just like him. But has has challenged and encouraged me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. He introduced me to mountain biking and backpacking. He took me to Africa for a month. I ran a half marathon. I went to the Middle East for a month on a seminary trip.
I am thankful for all of those things. They have expanded my view of the world. They have improved the quality of my life. They scared the $&!% out of me.
So, this year, I am pondering adventure. How can a complete chicken be more adventurous in her daily living?
Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
I have started xc skiing again. Our family joined some friends in Sun Valley for a weekend at Christmas and went xc skiing for the first time in a long time. While this might not seem adventurous to some, let me explain why it was for me.
1. I hadn’t ever been particularly good at it.
2. I am coming off a year of a bad ankle injury and wasn’t sure how I would do on skis.
3. I knew everyone else involved was in much better shape than I am and didn’t want to hold them back.
4. It was cold.
5. I’d never skied there before and wasn’t sure how technical it would be.
But I went anyway. Despite the voices in my head that told me I would be safer and warmer sitting at Starbucks, I went skiing. (yay me!)
Was I a slower skier than everyone? Yes. Did it matter? No. Was it cold? Yes. Did I care? No. Had a great time.
And so this winter, adventure for me has been about skiing. I’ve been able to get up to the nordic center at least once a week, sometimes twice a week. It is also a continuation of last year’s word–PRACTICE. Am getting better and stronger each day. Heading up there this morning, in fact.
I’m getting ready to think about considering another kind of adventure too. Some sort of dance class. Stay tuned.
1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.
4. a commercial or financial speculation of any kind; venture.
5. Obsolete .
a. peril; danger; risk.
b. chance; fortune; luck.
early 13c., auenture “chance, fortune, luck,” from O.Fr. auenture, from L. adventura (res) “(a thing) about to happen,” from adventurus, future participle of advenire “to come about,” from ad- “to” + venire “to come” (see venue). Original meaning was “to arrive,” in Latin, but in M.E. it took a turn through “risk/danger” (a trial of one’s chances), and “perilous undertaking” (early 14c.), and thence to “a novel or exciting incident” (1570). The -d- was restored 15c.-16c. Venture (q.v.) is a 15c. variant.