I wonder, does life become less of an adventure or more as one ages?
Let’s face it, when we’re young, we’re strong, fearless and the world’s our oyster. As we age and our bodies require more protection than they’ve ever had, perhaps we lose that sense of adventure. Or maybe, just maybe, because we are on the downward slope (let’s be honest here), we lose our inhibitions and look for more adventure, maybe even more danger to fire up the sense of achievement and adrenalin levels.
I went to see Edie the other day, with my most longtime friend. We cheered this 80 year old on from the sidelines, willing her to conquer the slopes of Suilven, with sedate tears on our cheeks in the dark velvet of the theatre. Afterward, we both looked at each other and said, ‘Well, what adventures can we have?’
Until a few years ago, I owned and rode horses, I’ve had three – an adventure in its own right. But on the poignant and sudden death of my last horse, I vowed never to have another. Nor did I ever want to ride again. The smell, sounds and touch of horse still stir my blood but riding at more than a sedate walk (just like HM the Queen) is unlikely.
I also kayak. Once, not so long ago, I would kayak alone on the open sea, not worrying about anything much. I kept a weather on the swells and winds, but generally loved the freedom, the beauty of sharing the sea with just fish, birds and the ocean spirits. But that changed when I contracted an uncommon vestibular condition which permanently erased almost all my right side balance.
A small ocean swell could induce dizziness and if I tip over, there’s no guarantee I won’t have a vertigo attack under the water.
But I refuse to give up the sea. I still kayak in calm conditions, although further inshore. I travel on our boat in conditions of 12 knots and under and with small swells.
I can cope with maybe 4-5 hours on the sea but will be ‘drunk’ for up to 24 hours after, but heavens’ above, it’s worth it! The same condition prevents me ever mounting a horse for anything more than a walk. A trot or canter would become a dizzying nightmare.
So where can I find adventure?
I’ve flown by light aircraft into the southwest wilderness for a day of hiking…
and there’s a couple of easy peaks and a ridge on Maria Island that I want to climb. But I hardly live each day on the edge.
Except for the biggest adventure of all.
Writing and publishing books…
Imagine putting every single smidge of one’s creative self into a book, telling a story one hopes will keep people entertained. Imagine then submitting it to editorial and hoping the editor thinks it has wings. Imagine the feeling if it does not!
And then, people, imagine when all the hoo-ha is done, submitting the novel to a worldwide stage to be reviewed, to be sold or not. Imagine the trepidation of laying a year or more of one’s work out there to be trodden on and walked over.
Tain’t easy. It can be ineffably trying for many, super-duper for others. But whatever else it might be, whether one is reviewed well or not, whether one sells or not, whether one decides to do it all again or not – it IS an adventure of mammoth proportions.
I’ve climbed that peak ten times and am about to finish the last part of the climb for the eleventh time. As I see Michael published and available on Amazon on 20th July, I hope Edie’s by my side, cheering me on just like I cheered her!