As a child, an adventure can be something as small as a walk to the shops.
If there are things to look at, places to run, trees to climb, then that ticks all the boxes. An adventure can be making a snowman, going sledging, hiking up a hill. It can even be the 30 minute drive it takes to get to a new town or playground.
As a child, adventure exists in the everyday.
And yet, as we grow, it becomes easier and easier to forget the excitement we used to find in the small changes in life. Somewhere along the way, adventure turns into bigger journeys and far flung places. We choose adult life, we are told to grow up and be sensible. We are told to conform, that if we look for adventure around work then we are ‘weekend warriors’ and that if we give up work for it – we’re just lucky. There is no escape from the expectation that even our fun should be serious.
What happened to a ‘snowball in the face’ kind of laughter and running down hills as fast as you can?
I’m a big believe that playtime is vital to living life to the fullest. It should not be seen as ‘not growing old’ but instead as just what we do. Fun is essential, to cognitive function and to health isolation here are 5 (relatively) simple ways to keep play and adventure alive even whilst adulting.
Fall off, over, and fail
As we get older, it becomes harder to understand that getting things wrong is just as much a part of the fun. Sliding around on your bum, making silly mistakes, tripping over, falling down, are all things that should be laughed about – stories to tell to friends afterwards.
Some of the most fun I have had on my bike has been throwing myself down things, some of the best times I have had in the sea have been days when I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. (But laughed so much my cheeks hurt, and really earned the hot chocolate afterwards).
Playtime is not about getting everything right. Accept sometimes that you just wont, and throw yourself into those moments just as much as you do the idyllic ones. Every experience can be an adventure, whether perfect or otherwise.
Don’t buy the best kit (or do, but mix it up sometimes)
Really, this point is about not focusing on the kit and instead focusing on what you are doing.
Back in February, I traveled to a voluntary-ran ski slope with my partner. He snowboards (And given how recently he started, he really puts me to shame.) I’ve skied before, but only ever hired the equipment. With all the other sports I enjoy, it is hard to justify buying more.
On this particular day, the lift was closed because of high winds. Rolling white hills were being battered by the gale, but access was still given for the hike up. Not wanting to miss an opportunity for some real winter, and for a day out, I took a sledge instead. It felt childish, immature, and given the average age of others on the hill – my selfconsciousness was warranted.
However, after pushing through that initial apprehension, it was potentially the most fun I have had all winter. I would go as far as to say that I had more fun that the snowboarder, who had to give in to the wind and instead joined me in front flipping into a giant snow drift.
If, that day, I had decided to buy myself skis, I would not have taken the sledge. I would have missed the chance for shrieking laughter, cold noses and snow filled boots. I would have been unable to enjoy the simplicity of just playing, of winter and of the world that we choose to love. For me, that was as good a sign as any that the kit never makes the fun – It only helps you achieve more when you are pushing your limits.
Go somewhere new
When I say new, I mean places that you wouldn’t normally. If you live by the sea, tackle a mountain. If you love waterfalls, paddleboard across a lake. Going somewhere new is akin to new experiences, and new experiences breed playtime and adventure.
Jump on that Tarzy
When did we all get so serious? Can we honestly say the adrenaline rush of swinging out across a river stopped being so appealing as we grew up?
One of the things that may often stop us from playing is that we, as adults, get very set on who we are and the types of activities that we do and do not like. But play is healthy and fun, so it benefits us to figuratively—or literally—roll the dice and allow play back into our lives. – Michael Forman
When I am out for a walk, I find a tarzy swing fills me with childish excitement. They have a magnetic draw, in the same way that tunnels and caves are begging to be explored. In the same way that sledging fulfills a sense of adventure and play, so do the very things that we consider ‘for kids’.
Let us do away with the phrase; For Kids. And embrace the fact that we need as much playtime as children do, that the benefits of having fun on cognitive function and mental health do not cease as we grow older. Those natural pulls to the very things that make us feel alive, whether it is a slide or climbing a tree, should really be listened to from time to time.
Get dirty and don’t care
The reality is, when you are an adult you have to clean up after yourself. You have to wash your own car, your own clothes, yourself – sometimes, in our seriousness, we let that put us off getting out in the mud and dirt and grime. We choose tidiness over adventure, and laughter in rain.
The weather should not determine when and how we go outside. As kids, we ate dirt – now we’re afraid to get it on our good shoes, or to let it spoil our good clothes.
Everything, from waterproofs to boots, is an object. The memories we can make having dirty adventures are just as important as ones we can make in the sun, and will last a lifetime.
As we grow up, I believe it is vital we keep in touch with our inner child. We spend so long being serious, that sometimes it even bleeds into our hobbies and pastimes. Keeping it simple, loving what we do, getting mucky, laughing and smiling is the way forward to making adventure a part of our everyday. Adventure doesn’t have to be far flung places and physically demanding exercise, it really can be as simple as a walk in the rain – appreciating the little things makes all the difference.