I have not yet shared my newest obsession here on the blog, but I want to make it a regular feature. You see, I have a new love - an unexpected one that involves big tires, rough rides, climbing rocks, dirt, mud, even occasionally peeing in the wilderness. I love Jeeping!
Now, this alone is not shocking, but those who know me understand that I have not at all been an "outdoorsy" kind of girl. I was not a tomboy. I did not make mudpies, climb trees, or go camping as a kid. I didn't like to get dirty, and I thought the kids in the neighborhood with frequently skinned knees and bare feet were a hot mess. I was far too busy playing school and doing my nails. I was NOT adventurous, generally trying to avoid anything that made me sweat, bleed, or cry.
This was evident from early on. In fact, when I was a toddler my mom could put me on a blanket in the middle of the lawn while she did yard work, and I would stay there, because I didn't like how the grass felt on my toes when I ventured off the safety of the blanket. Going places wasn't necessarily important to me. I grudgingly learned how to ride my two-wheeler at about eight years old finally, only after many a frustrating attempt to learn, and serious pressure from my brother Ben who was two years younger and had already learned how to ride his without ever needing training wheels. I also remember a particularly terrifying incident at the age of probably nine. It took place at the top of a firepole type structure on the playground at the zoo. All the other kids joyfully slid down like American heroes, and I clung to the top of the pole, with one foot still on the platform crying like an idiot until someone came over to "spot me." Even with assistance, I still wrapped my legs around so tightly that I squeaked down slowly an inch at a time until I reached the ground safely, and once was enough. Again...far from adventurous. I was a hold on tight, close my eyes, stay on the blanket kind of a girl.
Moving into adulthood I was a little less close-fisted about life, but still prioritized comfort and safety and tended to avoid the unknown. When we decided to move from Wisconsin to Arizona in 2009, part of me was sick of playing it safe. I really wanted to show myself and everyone else I could do it. I could be uncomfortable and uncertain, and just do it anyway. I could avoid stressing too much about the details, and just enjoy the ride. We moved basically for the sake of trying something new, and that experience has changed a lot for me.
It's hard to explain at times, but I feel like that was the beginning of wanting to "live life with adventurous intention." Living with adventurous intention is the idea that all of life - where you live, who you choose to live with, what you experience, takes on a whole new light when you intentionally view it as an adventure, and look for opportunities to experience something that scares you, excites you, stretches you. Too many people, including myself for too much of my life, just go through life with the goal of simply staying safe and clean. Sometimes getting dirty, and skinning knees, and seeing things you didn't know you were missing by doing things you never thought you'd do is the only way to grow.
When we bought our Jeep I had no idea I would love it so much, or that off-roading would become our new favorite pastime. But it has become a metaphor for me about living life with that adventurous intention. It's going from driving around and through the mountains to being in the mountains. It's picking a trail and going off the pavement, taking the road less traveled, and coming home at the end of the day tired in the most complete way. But, it's not just reckless thrill seeking, as it shouldn't be in life either. It's consciously taking on a journey with a start and end point in mind. It's setting yourself up with a plan and the proper supplies, but knowing that you will have to climb over rocks and navigate narrow bridges - that you'll get dirty and sweaty and maybe even have to pee in the woods. But much like life, the more rocks you're willing to climb, the better the scenery will get.