Today was a snow day. And not your typical grownup snow day of waking up early, shoveling, and then preparing for a treacherous drive to work. No, today was a true snow day, like the snow days I anxiously awaited for in elementary school. I woke up early, by choice, and ran to the window to gaze outside, curious if the snow amounted to what the meteorologists had predicted. They were right. About a foot of soft, fluffy, white powder waited outside for me to explore. I was ready to live out Buddy the Elf’s perfect day, “First, we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle.”
The day was truly magical as I unleashed the child within me. I had no cares in the world and lived life in the moment, for the adventure. As the day wound down and the sun set over the mountains, I took a moment to breathe. There’s something about this time of year that makes me feel like a kid again. Maybe it’s the snow, the holidays, or a combination of reasons that causes an elixir of life to take over my body—freeing me from stress, angst, and everything else that weighs on adulthood.
As I pondered this euphoric moment in time, I wondered why I would ever imprison this child-like spirit, always ready for the next great adventure life presents. It was time to take sage advice from the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan, when he said, “To live. To live would be an awfully big adventure.”
So, when was the last time you lived? Or the last time you tried something new? A time you were completely humbled by an experience that left you with scraped knees or even a bruised ego? As adults we assess risk everywhere we go. From putting rock climbing shoes on for the first time to changing up our go-to entrée at the local restaurant, we calculate the dangers that linger both big and small. And we ask ourselves, is this new experience worth the risk? Too often we stray from potential danger and play it safe, avoiding risk and adventure because playing it safe is comfortable and predictable.
But playing it safe is limiting. Instead, embark on the next adventure that confronts you. Eagerly explore the world as if it's your first time seeing it all because when you do, you will learn, grow, and—most likely—enjoy the process. You may realize you’ve underestimated how brave you are as you stand atop the steepest run on the mountain and conquer it, or maybe you’ve realized that standing up after a tumble on your mountain bike isn’t so bad, rather just another obstacle in your journey of life.
Release the child within you. Whether this spirit has been held captive for years or hours, open your eyes, explore the world, be curious, smell new smells, taste new tastes, take the risks, and learn. Like a toddler learning to walk for the first time, you will trip and fall, you may cry, and you may get dirt on your hands, but all of these obstacles ultimately result in flawlessly walking. Be that fierce five year old who never stops getting back on their bike, no matter how many times they fall down. Be the middle schooler who auditions for a play, without any experience yet bursting with passion.
Be the person ten year old you would look up to: an adventure seeker always wearing an ear-to-ear grin. Most importantly, stay humble and curious about the world around you and release your child within. You’ll only be surprised by the great adventures that await you. Now, back to building my snowman…
Ready for your next adventure? Check out our outdoor recreation area maps for California, Colorado, and Oregon!