Every person is sold the same line, that the human imperative is to do the following things: go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, throw in a beach vacation or two, and then die. That’s the road map, the GPS that guides us through our existence. I’m not knocking that route – it works for a lot of people. But I wonder why this is considered the “norm.” Do we need a handbook on what life should be or do we make up this path because we’re afraid to actually live?
I’ve never really subscribed to the life formula, and because of that, I’ve been labeled a variety of different things, including “flighty,” “irresponsible,” and (here’s the best one) “not right.” Well, I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I’ve had some amazing experiences in my life – I’ve run a marathon, backpacked through Europe, performed songs that I wrote on stage, and written a book. It seems that the most amazing things I’ve done have been the result of doing the exact opposite of what everyone else tells me that I “should” do. I have taken quite a crooked path along my journey, and I can’t say that I’ve ever felt like I’ve “arrived.” That used to bother me – that I hadn’t “made something” of myself. That I hadn’t lived up to what society considers successful.
Oddly enough, it took a back injury to make me put things in perspective. I was forced to stop my frantic, too busy lifestyle to think about how I spent the hours of my day. I realized that I had fallen into a rut of “normal” living and was not really doing what I wanted to do.
So I’ve made the decision to make my life “rut-less.” Isn’t that why people create bucket lists – to distract themselves from their lives with the things that they want to do someday? But how many of us actually follow through and DO it? I’m going to make bucket list items a part of my life plan. It has always been my desire to travel, but for whatever reason (time, money, lack of money, extreme lack of money, etc.), I always push it to the back for something that takes priority, like paying a bill. Not anymore. (And that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop paying my bills – don’t worry Visa, you’ll get your due.) But I’m going to make sure that if there is something I want to do or see, I’ll do it and not worry about all the reasons I “shouldn’t” do it.
I challenge you guys to do the same. Do some planning. Have you always wanted to see the Northern Lights? Have you wanted to climb Kilimanjaro? Or are you a rabid Elvis fan, but you’ve never seen Graceland? Make it happen. Get on Expedia and book it. This is my adventure challenge. My goal is to see all fifty states and visit all seven continents. (After my trip to Alaska, I got to cross off one state, but I have 17 more to go! So that means, in terms of continents, I’ve got North America covered. I’ve been to Europe, but I still have five continents to explore.) I’ll document each adventure, so hopefully it will inspire you, too.