How To Find Adventure In The Now When Your Mind Is Anywhere But Present
Achieving success does not necessarily make life’s journey any easier. At times, I feel as though I emit the illusion that I lead a life in a constant state of positivity.
Two weeks ago, it became difficult to maintain that positive mindset. It seemed like each morning brought a new mental battle: losing my ID badge, losing my keys, waking up to craters on the side of my face, and a broken coffee maker at work. Although inconvenient, these became trivial matters when compared to the more pressing issues on my mind—closed doors.
That weekend, I was confronted with my past, two doors that were shut as 2015 transitioned into 2016.
There is no “how to” guide for navigating the settled dust and cracks on those doors when a gust of wind blows them open. We know they are always present, but there is no definitive way to prepare for the day someone knocks on them. I retreated inward. I revisited the reasons why I shut those doors,
and why I no longer choose to tolerate toxicity in my life. I stand firm in those decisions, but I am not immune to self-reflection. Letting my emotions rise and fall allowed me to keep the doors closed and throw away the spare keys. During those moments, my past, present, and future came to intersect, and it became more emotional than I anticipated.
I feel stagnant. I’ve noticed myself dragging. Finding motivation to begin my day has become challenging. Instead of two cups of coffee, it’s three. My old workout routines do not find home in my heart as they once did. I seem to be seeking escape routes from the mundane, which is ironic, because I thrive in routine. This is a personal pattern I have become more conscious of as years pass, and with each cycle, I’ve learned the value of self-navigation. Instead of accepting a bad day, or accepting my sluggishness as final, I try to practice awareness by asking myself the deeper questions. The ones I may likely be running from.
“What makes you get out of bed in the morning?”
A job with a steady paycheck.
“Why are you sitting in the parking garage until the very last minute?”
Contemplating why I continue to show up to work.
The underlying answer to these questions is my dreams, my passions. My desire to further my education. To expand upon my sense of well-being. To explore and make an impact on this world, all while uncovering layers of myself. That’s the root source of my persistence. I am lucky to be where I am professionally at 23 years old.
Although this is not the job I see myself pursuing for the rest of my life, I am successful at what I do. But that success is not satiating enough, it’s not what keeps me working towards more. The job I hold now motivates me to work towards the job I want in the future. I am proud of what I have accomplished here, and I am successful in this environment because I have to be in order to achieve the level of success I desire for my future.
There is this fine line that I walk between the present and future, and it is difficult to maintain my presence. It’s hard to remember which time period I’m in, they seem so closely interwoven. I have to be focused on my future in order to get there, but at the same time, I have to be focused now in my work, in order to reach that point in future. The future isn’t that far away either, and I think that’s what I crave. I crave an escape until that moment in time when “
” shifts to “
.” I’ve noticed myself wanting to run more, which usually means there is something that I want to run away from, and I think it’s here. I leave in the dark, I come home in the dark. On weekends, I’m either visiting friends or am creating my own adventures. I am rarely at my apartment. Well, why? What am I trying to reveal to myself? What does that represent?
It kind of hit me. I don’t plan to be living in this town, this state, a year from now, so I need to explore the depths it has to offer while I still call this place my home. In attempts to find a balance between now and later, I’ve been driven to more adventure-filled activities. A few weeks ago, I drove down to DC at 4:15 AM to watch the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial,
Afterwards, I hunted down a local coffee shop, because I much prefer the eclectic charm of local brews than the overpriced deliciousness of my usual Starbucks order (In fact, I can’t even tell you the last time I went to Starbucks). Last weekend I ventured to Deep Creek, MD. Friday morning, I went for a run at 7AM without music, which was a first for me.
I am someone who needs an underlying rhythm to maintain my stride. But last weekend, that rhythm became breath, heartbeat, and mountain air. Later that afternoon, I went white water rafting. It started to rain about halfway through the rafting trip, but it didn’t matter. The inconvenience of rain to some, became beauty and wanderlust to others. Being away and swept up by fresh air caused me to forget that fine line between present/future. I was forced to focus on the now. I was surrounded by a group that made me forget to look at my phone, and that’s what I’m trying to strive for in the lifestyle I am continually working towards creating for myself.
The tug-of-war of time that I am facing represents significant inner growth for me. I have used different coping mechanisms throughout transitional periods in my life. In high school, it was an obsession with food and exercise. In college, it was solitude and self-love/relationship imbalance. Post-graduation, it was alcohol. And now? It’s an open door to an adventure with myself. One that is long overdue...