I remember the sense of adventure I felt when, in my twenties, I had a garage sale and sold off most of my stuff, put only what was necessary into my back pack and left with a one-way ticket to the world – intent on having my very own, quintessentially Australasian, Big Overseas Experience.
It turned out I was less a back pack kind of girl and more of a business traveller, but figuring that out was all part of the adventure. I felt like I could go anywhere and do anything. Like the world really was my oyster.
What an almost decade-long Big OE did for me was help me figure out who I was and what mattered to me, what I liked to do and what I didn’t, what I was good at and what I wasn’t and what made my heart sing or feel deflated. These discoveries of my twenties and thirties did their job – they taught me about myself.
At midlife I find myself wanting to recapture that sense of adventure but this time around, adventure has a different feel to it. The world I want to take on is less about the world ‘out there’ and more about the world ‘inside me’.
It’s about having an adventure in the day to day, reaching for goals that feel meaningful and stretch me, taking my hard won talents and experiences and using them in ways that bring me (and hopefully others) joy, making small but significant choices every day that take me out of my comfort zone.
It’s not about fear or shrinking or giving up on reaching for things that seem currently unlikely. It’s about continuing to take personal risks about who I want to be in the world. And it turns out I don’t need to go anywhere to do it!
Adventure is now about the little things: carving out time to write despite a very full schedule, committing to healthy habits not only because they are sensible but because they speak to the person I’m becoming, choosing to do small things differently such as walking a different route, choosing a cafe further from home instead of the tried and true, choosing my approach to a conversation with a Beloved, mixing up the weekend activities so I go to, or try, something new.
Adventure is also still about the big things: making a commitment to realise a long cherished goal such as launching or growing a business, leaving or committing to a new relationship or showing up in a existing one differently, moving to a new place, reinventing ourselves in our own eyes and how we feel about ourselves as we grow older.
I think adventure implies equal levels of courage and excitement and this continues to be my litmus test – do the choices I’m making require courage and incite excitement or not? If I’m feeling too comfortable or don’t feel like I’m learning and growing, then perhaps the reality is that I’m not. Perhaps I’ve allowed my excuses and stories about why things are the way they are, get in the way.
So a few questions to tickle your sense of possibility at midlife then:
- When I think about my life, what are the big and small things that incite both courage and excitement?
- Is there a personal adventure that I’ve almost given up on that perhaps needs reigniting?
- Am I allowing myself day to day adventures or have things got a bit rut-like?
We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave us a comment or share on Facebook.