Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Live Your Adventure! - by Kathleen Cook

When I was younger, it seemed as if I was always too busy to find adventure in day-to-day life. I counted the many tasks I had to slog through until I could sit down, relax, write, sleep, and do it all over again the next day. I didn’t see the adventure in making peanut butter sandwiches, washing clothes, running errands, and other tasks. I dreamed longingly of retirement, when I could go on safaris, climb mountains, and take white-water rafting trips.

Now that I’m retired and doing at least some of that, I wonder how many adventures I actually missed while young. That peanut butter sandwich that fell on the floor to the dog’s delight, and my adventure in bathing him when he wound up with brown goo all over him (that dog hated baths!) is remembered fondly now with a laugh as well as an exaggeration or two. At the time, though, it seemed such a routine, mundane incident.

What about the time I washed clothes and the machine broke down and started spewing soapy water all over the laundry room floor and into the carpet in the next room, where it squish-squish-squished for the next two days? Yes, that was an adventure! And what about the time I had a simple, ordinary checkup with the doctor? That certainly turned into an adventure of bald-faced lies that had to be ashamedly backtracked. It went sort of like this:

“Kathleen, you’ll have to come in next week for your routine mammogram.” (Do I want to get a mammogram? Heck no! What kind of excuse can I give?)

“Um … I can’t. I’m going to visit relatives next week.” 

“Oh, you’re going to Illinois? What a coincidence! I’ll be there too next week! I’m visiting my sister; maybe we can get together for lunch. Where will you be staying?”

(Oh DANG! She knows all my relatives are in Illinois! What do I do NOW????)

“Um … Er … actually we’re not visiting my relatives in Illinois; we’re visiting other relatives.”

“Oh, you’re going to GERMANY?”

(Oh DANG! She knows my husband’s from Germany! I TALK TOO MUCH!!!)

“Um …. Er … Ummm.”

“Hey Clara!” (Clara looks up from her books.) “Guess where Kathleen is going? She’s visiting GERMANY next week! You know that country well, don’t you?”

Clara comes over and asks, “Oh wow, what part? Munich is beautiful this time of year. If you stop there, you can say hi to my cousin, Klaus. He works lunches at the Banhof Café near the train station.”

(I check my watch nervously.)

“Oh, I’m so sorry guys; I’m late for the dentist! I’ll talk to you next time!”

“Have a great trip! We’ll want to see ALL the pictures of Germany when you get back!” 

On an emotional-stress-adrenaline scale, if that wasn’t an adventure, I don’t know what is. And it didn’t end there. My stomach went skydiving the next day, when I called up to say, “I lied.”

A prolonged giggle on the other end was followed by, “Monday, 9:00. No excuses.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Monday morning saw a new round of giggles the moment I walked in. Talk about adventure! Disney’s Matterhorn couldn’t have done worse!

As of this writing, I am preparing to take a trip into the wilds of Maine, where moose and black bear abound and my grown kids will be sharing the adventure with me. I can’t wait! But when you consider my previous, ordinary, run-of-the-mill adventures, I’d say this one will be rather tame. No stomach skydives. No heart palpitations. Easy breezy lemon squeezy. 

If you’re in the midst of your “ordinary” life and dreaming of “someday,” look around you. You may find plenty of action right where you are. So start writing that new adventure tale!

Kathleen Cook is a retired editor and the author of more than twenty books. A former copy writer/editor for Demand Studios, she also served as the Fictional Religion Editor for the ODP (Open Directory Project) in the internet’s early days. She is currently the Arizona Authors Association’s editor as well as its website developer.

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