As I packed the small backpack for my first ever deep-sea fishing trip, I came across several crumpled receipts crushed in the bottom of the bag. One was for my recent skydiving expedition, another was from a cup of hot chocolate purchased while on a winter ski trip, yet another recorded a solo kayaking journey and a fourth showed proof of purchase at a fall Highland Games.
Now apart from demonstrating that I suck at properly disposing of receipts, these slips of paper are evidence that I am living the life I promised myself after divorce.
During my first marriage, I talked about doing a lot of things. And then I talked myself out of them. The desired activities were always too expensive. Too far away. Too much trouble. I lived as though I was in a waiting room, always delaying happiness until the right moment.
But it was never the right moment.
After the marriage ended, I made a vow to myself to never wait to be happy again. To say “yes” to invitations and opportunities more than replying “no.” To sometimes spend money that I shouldn’t in order to do something that I wanted. And rather than wait for adventure to come to me, to seek it out whenever I could.
One of my early purchases in those dark days was a small backpack, three zippered compartments that fit snugly on my frame. I quickly dubbed the pack, my “adventure bag” and promised myself that I would take it on as many new excursions as possible.
On a lark this past week, I decided to try to list all of the new experiences I have enjoyed since the divorce. It was impressive:
Skydiving, water skiing, snow skiing, a trip to Alaska, an NFL game, riding on a motorcycle, running a marathon, tackling the walls at a climbing gym, paddling a dragon boat with breast cancer survivors and supporters, Peachtree Road Race, countless festivals and concerts, riding a jet ski, visiting the Georgia coast (multiple times), sailing on Lake Lanier, camping and hiking all over the Southeast, SCUBA classes, yoga classes, host a camera crew in my living room, completing Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder, watching Harry-Potter themed burlesque, a trip to the Smithsonian museums, solo explorations of Ashville and Birmingham, whale watching, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, stand-up paddlebaord yoga, renting a bike and braving the greenway, staying in a hotel room by myself, climbing to the top of the Wisconsin capital, visiting an authentic Korean sauna, shooting targets at a gun range, touching Canadian soil, touring my husband’s childhood stomping grounds in Maryland and South Carolina, going to Savannah (both with and without a gaggle of 8th graders), kayaking and canoeing the Chattahoochee, publishing a book, visiting the Space Needle, touring the expanded Riverwalk, ziplining in the U.S., go to Los Angeles to appear on a television show, exploring the ruins on Cumberland Island, staying at the elite Westin downtown, going on winery and brewery tours, and just a few days ago, going deep-sea fishing.
All in just six years.
And all because I made fun and adventure a priority.
So here’s my challenge for you – Locate or buy a bag to serve as your adventure bag. And then vow to take it to as many places and expose it to as many opportunities as possible. No excuses. No waiting for the “right time.” Just go have fun and live fully.
Receipt removal is entirely optional.
Where will your adventures take you?