For much of my life I've dreamed of skipping to the end of the adventure, when the nostalgic feelings kick in and we all debate the greatness of various moments we spent together. I've dreamed of skipping to the end of more than just adventure, actually. Everything in life, when I think about it. But life is an adventure.
I've never really wanted to work through something to get the reward at the end. "Why not just get the reward now? Why can't it be that simple?" I would ask myself. Which is why college never really seemed worth it for me. Carrying out anything was debatable in my mind, because there was always the chance I was missing out on something more important. But there's always that chance, no matter where you are or what you do.
The thing is, when I look back it was the experience that planted all those happy memories. It was the experience that gave me the skills I needed to overcome the challenges at the next stop in the road. It was the experience that inspired me to write about this. And as much as I want to skip past the core of the journey, while not plausible, it doesn't seem possible. I can't feel nostalgic about something I've never done.
Still, when I think about the great days I've spent driving up and down the West Coast, making a sword, surfing a mere two times, snowboarding for six years, and riding my bike to semi-exotic locations, it's hard to summon motivation to continue doing such things. It's so much easier to just think about the past and how great it was. Why should I leave this desk chair when it's where the nostalgia is? I can listen to all the songs from those moments and not have to risk anything. Seems pretty rational to me.
I'd love to tell you all these things are hypothetical, but the truth is far from it. They're real. I think about past experiences every day and often find myself wanting to live there all too often. In my quests to live in the now, I've forgotten that the future is a possible adventure and the past is not. That adventure already took place. Reliving it in my mind only stops me from having such an experience again. The only thing it has the potential to be is an emotional adventure, and those aren't nearly as interesting.
It's so much easier to prepare for something than it is to actually go do it. Buying lots of gear at REI doesn't make you a mountaineer; adventuring with what you have is probably better because it's more challenging, plus the story will likely be more comical. When things get more technical, you probably need better gear to tackle rougher cliffs. I really love dreaming about stuff, though, not going out and doing any of it. That's too risky.
In my defense, I tell myself that I'm storing up my adventurous energy for a quality time. I tell myself that if I hold back for a while and adventure less, the times I do will be amazing. But that's a lie. Some are great, others — especially when I have high expectations — not so much. Life is unpredictable, and it's hard to understand that when you expect certain things. Maybe that's another reason I don't like to walk out the door that often: I risk it being a bad experience. Though truly, the risk is always the same. I'm just more prepared and courageous some days.
I raise my sword to courage, even if I don't really have a sword at the moment.