Monday, March 28, 2011

How to be a Kid Again

Taking a step away from the technical gear-related end of the outdoor/adventure spectrum I'd like to talk about being a kid. I believe there's a huge and glaring disconnect between the creativity of childhood and the resourcefulness of adulthood.

Adventure comes in all sizes, shapes, and varieties. Be it Patagonia expeditions, backyard excursions, free soloing, or swinging in the hammock we can find adventure in just about anything. This is something I have often addressed here at The Adventure Lifestyle Blog. With adulthood comes a sense of self importance and awareness of competition with others. I see Facebook posts every day from REI, Les Stroud, and other big outdoor resources talking about Joe Schmoe and his ground breaking summit of Mt. Awesome. These news posts are overwhelming. How come everyone is doing something cooler than I am? I believe we've lost a sense of self. I find myself too often consumed by what others are doing that I forget the things I want to do.

As a kid I spent my time in class drawing sketches of forts I wanted to build with my buddies in the woods. I would design new "machines" and dream of inventing all sorts of cool things. I was captivated by medieval siege machines like trebuchets and catapults. Eventually I found myself captivated by pyrotechnics and dabbled in the dark arts of the Anarchist Cookbook. The possibilities were endless, create strongholds in the forest to defend from the invasions of imagined or future onslaughts. Learn survival skills to hold out when at apocalypse came. All of these things were on my list of things to do once that school bell rang at 3:30 every day.

The problem?

As a kid I never had enough money to buy the lumber, metal, or tools to build siege engines. I didn't have the safety equipment or know-how to safely experiment with homemade pyrotechnics (not that that stopped me...). There was no way for me to get access to transport of my own. The problems seemed insurmountable... if only I could overcome these adversities then I knew beyond a doubt that I could build anything I wanted, be anything I wanted.

Now as an adult I find that I have access to transportation, I have a garage full of tools, I have the carefully gathered know-how to build or fabricate just about anything from steel or wood. Certainly there's enough money in my bank account to fund just about any concoction of ideas I could have to entertain my interests and hobbies. But what do I do when I have some free time? Watch a TV program, play video games, check my Facebook.

This is a call to action against wasted time. Against wasted youth, and against the stagnant imagination.

I know I'm not the only one who has lost the connection between childhood imagination and adulthood action. We all have dreams that sit on the back burner. A trip to Europe, a new Ferrari, mastering a sport or conquering a mountain. Whatever your dreams are, or were, they need to take priority in your life. It's imperative to stop putting off your goals and dreams because tomorrow may never come.

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