With a new year comes a clean slate, a fresh start. With that fresh start comes a reset. We reflect on what went well and what we want to improve on as we generate a list of New Year’s resolutions. I will not lie to you, I struggle with setting and maintaining New Year’s resolutions in part because as a teacher I trained my brain to reset the new year at the beginning of school. January simply represents the end of halftime to me.
As I began to reflect on 2016 and look forward to 2017, I realized I kept some my resolutions for 2016. I worked to maintain a healthier lifestyle. I faced my fears by stepping out and starting a blog. I read a lot of books, and I would like to think I did a better job of maintaining a work life balance for the most part, kind of.
However, one thing I committed to doing last year stuck out like the glaring hole Downton Abbey left for all of us when it ended (no fear, The Crown holds up pretty well). One of my resolutions for the year 2016 – to seek out more adventures. I did seek out a lot of adventures in 2016 with great intention. I started the year 2016 in Minneapolis by making new friends, an introvert’s nightmare, with my dear friend and roommate Becca. I explored New York City for the first time with my mom and sister. I went on a big trip through Nevada, Utah and Colorado where I hiked The Narrows and survived Las Vegas. I went to a writing conference that pushed and challenged me. I drove cross country with friends. I flew to Idaho for a whirlwind fall break experience with some of my dearest pals. Turns out, 2016 proved a pretty good year for adventures. I took time and space to plan them out and research what to do in order to maximize the experiences. Then I wondered if I missed my calling and should switch careers and start a travel agency.
I realized all of those adventures meant me going somewhere new. I love to go new places. I love to travel and explore. Traveling is not a bad thing at all. And my adventurous spirit will never go away, so I see no point in attempting to squelch it by not traveling. What I saw looking at at the year 2016 – I did a great job of seeking out new adventure and travel opportunities. What I did not do – create every day adventures for myself and those around me.
I tell myself I am not just an adventure seeker, but an adventure maker. When I hang out with my three-year-old nephew and one-year-old niece, I tell them all the time, “we are going on an adventure to the basement!” Or we go on a secret mission to find our shoes before we go outside. We get our spy gear (hands to our eyes as binoculars) to spot them. Then I make an elaborate exploit of the simple task of putting our shoes on. But this sentiment seems to only occur when I hang out with them.
On a daily basis if I put my shoes on in this manner, I may get referred to some sort of doctor. But I want to live my everyday life to hold the wonderment and excitement of a new adventure. I do not want to wait until my next big planned trip to experience the joy of a new caper. I desire to create a sense of newness and awe in all that I do. Not everything will be fun and exciting.
Life holds many meniscal, mundane tasks, but what if those tasks caused a little flicker every now and then? What if the adult things life requires of us sometimes held the sense of a new escapade? I can adjust my attitude a little (lot) bit to find some sense of wonder in what I do.
So, this year one of the main things I commit to do – make adventures in the mundane. That could mean trying a new recipe to cook for dinner, or creating a new route on my jog (which one day maybe we can call a run) around the neighborhood. It could look like stopping to look at something I see each and every day from a new perspective. Or maybe inviting a bunch of friends over to watch a movie and building a fort. Who knows. What I do know, I want my my life to represent one big adventure as much as possible. I see now it will require my putting in the effort and keeping the intentionality of adventure maker at the forefront of my mind.
As you reflect back and look forward, I challenge you to look for ways you can put a little wonderment and spark in your everyday. It may not manifest as making adventures, but anytime we can infuse joy and newness into what we do with intention, our lives grow a little brighter and a lot bigger than ourselves.