Could Boring Be Good Enough?

I feel complacent. The days just run together here—it’s me, my parents, my laptop. Next thing you know it’s dark again.

People ask where I am. It always catches me off guard. For some reason I assume that everyone who knows me, from my ex-fiancée from college to coworkers I haven’t seen in a year, must follow my every move. The plan is the center of my life and I forget others don’t follow it so closely. How is South America? Are you still in Thailand? Where are you?

Right now I’m in Wisconsin. Where in Wisconsin? You wouldn’t know it. But it’s near other towns that, likewise, you wouldn’t know.

I like it here. I didn’t think I would. When I left Mexico I was nervous. I planned to spend two months visiting family and I wondered if that might be about seven weeks too many.

We live on a small farm. Neither of my parents grew up farmers, but it’s my dad’s retirement dream. For the first month I was here, Zangmo joined us. I’ve made a few jaunts to the Cities to see various friends and Beth. But mostly it’s been me and the two people who gave me life, in the middle of nowhere.

Zangmo and I went canoeing.

Dad doesn’t talk much. Mom does, sometimes. A lot of the time it’s just quiet (never when I’m trying to write). They have two cats who will run away if you try to pet them, so there may actually be a negative amount of socialization happening in the house.

The hours slip by this way. Somehow it’s March, April, June—what happened? I wake up early each morning, intention to write a lot; write some. I’m making dinner. Then they’re in their beds and it’s just me, the wine, the computer, the music.

I could just stay here. Mom sure would like the company. Dad’d love the help. Two years, ten years. Help with chores in the morning, write nights. No rent, no hole in my heart, meet a local girl.

Nobody would fault me for settling down, and I’m tempted every chance.

Sometimes comfort is the enemy of adventure. I’ve been so complacent I wanted to turn down a kayaking trip. Co-adventurer Mitch and I might take sea kayaks down the Gulf of Mexico when I get that far. We have a chance to take lessons together in Duluth, Minnesota.

For two weeks I’ve wondered if I can cancel.

I don’t actually want to cancel. I’ll actually be much happier if I go do something new, with a man I hardly know who might paddle across the world with me. I thrill at that very idea: if I didn’t, I should take adventurer off my business card.

But I get this way sometimes. When I have a comfortable daily life I convince myself I have lots of writing to do. It gives me a reason to go nowhere and, if I let myself, I would grow old this way and regret it.

Are you the kind of person who’s tempted to adventure, but would rather stay home? Or are you the kind of person who’s tempted to stay home, but would rather adventure?

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18 thoughts on “Could Boring Be Good Enough?

  1. Hi Drew, it’s been a while since I’ve left a comment, but I’m still reading. Of course I can relate to this post in many ways, as I’m sure most of us can. I love my life and don’t want to change it too much, but I also realize I can’t let myself get too comfortable because it is not the best way to grow as a person. I did recently ask someone out on a “friend date” that I think I’d have a lot in common with–now this is not something I’ve ever, ever done before (oh, she said yes, BTW), so perhaps it’s good training for if I ever find myself on the otherside of the world among strangers. You have made many small steps (well not so small to me) so far in preparation for the big journey–already more than most people, so I think you should be proud of all your accomplishments thus far and your temptation to cancel is completely normal.

    And to answer your question, I’m tempted to adventure, but would rather stay home:)

    • I think the idea of a friend date is awesome. No one just asks a new person if they want to go on a friend date. I like that.

      Yes, it’s been a journey for me just to get prepared. It definitely started with very small steps. Though I think the biggest step was just admitting I need to do this. It was years of trying to lead a different life and the idea of giving that up and taking a leap was frightening.

  2. Kass Kitt Robbery says:

    Hmmmm… Well, I love adventure, but what I once thought I wanted my life to be like has begun to change. I see what the music industry has done to people who have been through it. I have heard what it does to a person, to their minds, egos, relationships. I see the dream through rose-colored glasses, but when you begin to actually see the details, to understand and get a little glimpse, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
    In this industry, everyone wants to become a god, immortalized in recordings and videos. No one wants to grow old, as if our heroes never grow old, get sick, or die.
    No one wants to think about how a person can change from the experience; how one moment you’re in awe of the whole experience, feeling blessed, and then not too far into the future you’re feeling as though you’re owed it. Promises are made as well as quotas established, but things fail and people with broken dreams are left along the wayside to remember how great things were and how terrible things are now–as though life before fame was such a horrible place to begin with.
    From here I can say that life is not horrible. Life is grand. I’ve got a great deal of happiness right in front of me, along with the cold, harsh reality that all life and things come to an end. We’d like to blind ourselves at times with dreams, envisioning how we want it all to pan out but so much of it depends on external factors and the actions of others.
    Well, perhaps I have become complacent in some aspects, but I don’t see how it’s hurt me at all. Some of my wild dreams have led me to take action which brought me to new experiences. My wide-eyed dreams were not fulfilled, but the journey to “failure” was wonderful. I intend to repeat those experiences and be grateful for not attaining those “dreams.” Had I attained those dreams at that point in my life, I could very well have ruined myself. I can say that now in retrospect and believe that fully.
    At some point, when you’re truly just being yourself and happy, when honest reality is beginning to set in, something nice and unexpected may happen. Something seems to develop out of chance, or perhaps the Universe decided to make all things come into alignment just at the right time for you when you were truly ready to accept the right and appropriate thing.
    I don’t know if that makes me complacent. I haven’t whored myself or signed away my rights to a business that doesn’t care about me personally. I’ve felt jealousy and envy towards the people I’ve known who have made successes, but now I know what those people are doing with themselves and, I must admit, my life is good. I don’t have to question if something I say will be printed as a scandal in some webzine. If I want to go home at night and wear men’s clothing or do something else someone thinks is strange, I don’t have to worry about that showing up on the front page of the newsstands, like the John Travolta thing. Okay, he’s not the most attractive cross-dresser, but life must really suck if people are going to label you as a freak on a national, public level just for doing something that makes you happy.
    Anyway, for now I’m going slow and enjoying the beauty of small successes. I guess it all depends on what your expectations are when trying to determine if you’re becoming stagnant or if you’re still making life an adventure for yourself.

    • Having known you so long, Kass, this is beautiful. Thanks for writing this.

      I don’t think my path templates to everybody. Where I am is a very different place. Sure, I had huge dreams as a kid. And I thought I’d have a meteoric rise to success as soon as I hit college. Ha. But where you’ve fought for your dream, looked it in the eye, and decided it wasn’t what you wanted — I walked away from mine. In many ways, I spent 7 years working hard for everyone else but myself. I feel good about those accomplishments and the people I helped, but now it’s time to chase down the destiny I chose for myself. For me it’s adventure.

      I’m really glad you took the time to read this. I’m doing a series over the next couple of weeks on the goals of the Great Adventure and what exactly I hope to get out of it. I’d love your impressions of those posts when they come out.

  3. “Sometimes comfort is the enemy of adventure.” <– that's a great line.

    Hi. I've been reading your blog for several months(?) I don't comment much (any?) but I do enjoy reading about your adventures and your thoughts and insights. Makes me think.

    I had to comment due to the sentence I quoted above. Very apt I think.

    My father was an adventurer. Not that I thought about him as such when I was growing up. Before he married and had kids he biked across the US and Europe and hiked mountains (of the US east variety) and later some of the "easier" Cascade mountains. He became a small aircraft pilot after he married. And spent the weekends flying first around the east coast and later the west after we moved out here. When I was 12 he flew our family of three smallish kids (I was the oldest) across the country. He let me "pilot" for a small bit over the midwest (my feet couldn't reach the pedals, so I was not totally piloting.)

    He took me on canoeing trips. First on small creeks in the east and later on rivers and lakes in Oregon, where we moved when I was 10. When I was 13 he took me on a 2-week kayaking trip around the uninhabited islands off the NW coast of Vancouver Island, BC. One of the most memorable trips of my life.

    He hiked and camped whenever he got the chance and loved to find roads that led "nowhere" and explore them. He became an avid cyclist in his later years due to a bad ankle that needed exercise in a certain way. And he biked everywhere.

    He was also a writer. Were he still alive today, I'm convinced he'd be a blogger.

    When he retired at 59 he climbed Mt Hood here in Oregon. But unfortunately he slipped on the descent and perished by falling into a carvasse. This was more than 20 years ago. And it wasn't until last year visiting a cousin of his, who referred to my Dad as an adventurer that I had ever thought of him as such. It was a "duh" moment. ;-)

    I didn't mean to get into all that – I just wanted to say that it's one of my goals to not become too comfortable. Comfort is good, warm and secure. But adventure is spice. And we all need a little spice to keep us alive. Even though my father died too early at the age of 59, I've always been happy that he went out doing something he loved. And in a very weird way I love Mt Hood even more than I did prior to that, because it gave him an adventure.

    I'm reading a book right now on "The Art of Growing Old". There's a line in the introduction that I think is wonderful. ""The Warmth of the Heart Prevents your Body from Rusting". It's the name of a song sung by old people on the island of Okinawa, many of whom have lived up to the age of 115 in health and with vigor. This is what I aspire to.

    Thank you for providing a glimpse into your life and adventures.

    • Karen, something deep in me is grateful that you wrote this. Your dad sounds like the kind of person I would have loved to meet. It sounds like he balanced comfort and adventure perfectly, and I’m so happy for you that he gave you those experiences growing up. I don’t think I’d be who I am if my dad had not taken me hiking and camping. Such small adventure, but how they change the mind.

      Please know that I’m happy you’re reading, and tonight I’m making offerings in honor of your dad.

      Oh! You mentioned he was a writer. Is anything of his available that I could read?

      • Thanks Drew. Sadly no, nothing available. He spent his career as a technical writer and then in-house journalist for his company of 30 years. I found out only a few months before he died that he always wanted to write and had plans to do so in retirement. Lesson here is to not wait until retirement to follow your dreams.

  4. I think this is another one of those cases where your Heroic Path and my Path of Power run along similar lines. In seeking power, or the heroic, there’s always this element of conflict and war to it. You struggle to obtain the power needed (either to be a greater hero, or for the sake of power itself). Yet, such a life is exhausting, dangerous, and oftentimes, lethal. And once you step on that road, the only way off it is to be utterly crushed and destroyed. It is easy to see the Path of Rest, where one can simply flow through life with less struggle, and take the easy way. You have found it in your Parents farm. I have found it where I am. the easy, monotonous progression of days.

    But, as you say, if we are to truly live by our Paths, at some point you have to put your life on the line, and never look back.

    • I’m curious, Lucius. Where are you (or what are you doing) that represents this easy place for you right now? Do you have plans to go forward and pursue this path you talk about? Or is that step still unclear?

  5. I quit my full-time job a week ago and have been running since. It’s hasn’t been like I expected it would be, with lots of free time to get my life in order.

    The thought of canceling has crossed my mind too. Especially when the process of planning isn’t smooth and has it’s hang-ups. It certainly would make life simpler. But I only have to remind myself that the good things in life are worth the effort. And an adventure is always up there on the top of the list!

    “Comfort is the enemy of adventure.” You couldn’t have been more truthful!

    Just remember, any adventure that takes your mind to a new place (even if it’s inside a book) will feed your creative side. Writing and adventuring is a balancing act. Don’t let the creative side go hungry for too long.

    • I totally agree Mitch. And yeah, it’s funny how quitting your job, which in theory should give you at least 40 more hours a week of time to use, doesn’t necessarily give you that much time at all. Planning, freelancing and creative work all take scads more time than a lot of people expect. There are weeks where I work more hours now than I used to at my old job, I think.

  6. Rua Lupa says:

    I have adventures where I stay. Whether its hiking into a nook I haven’t been to before, or learning by doing with gardening and crafts. I enjoy studying or some good fiction for entertainment on days where the weather is unfavorable (I personally prefer mild cloudy days with a slight breeze, I don’t get along with with direct sun, otherwise I’m in areas with thick canopy). I get a lot more adventure than the people who travel here for adventure. Its all in your lifestyle, not in the destination.

      • Rua Lupa says:

        Generic Tourism and Cottage goers really, and they often talk like they’re adventuring. The only real adventurers I ever see are kayakers, canoers, and cross country cyclists, and I don’t see many of those people.

  7. Pingback: This is What Fear Smells Like « Rogue Priest

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