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Adventure by Ollie

A Search for Purpose in a Random World

Month

April 2014

Change of plans…

Last week I had planned to stay up to watch the lunar eclipse, but it rained. This was not such a big deal to me – I love a good rainstorm. I opened up all of the windows and watched it roll in. The breeze felt good, so I snuggled up on the couch with a cup of tea, and a good book. I listened to the thunder and watched it rain. It’s not very adventurous, but there’s nothing I love better than a cozy couch, good book, Earl Grey, and a nap.

When plans are thwarted, and circumstances don’t work out to my advantage, I really only have one choice: my attitude. Maybe, the thunderstorm will suddenly change course as if to say, “Just kidding,” and lift up her cloudy skirts to go traipsing off to some other neighborhood. Then again, chances are she won’t. Thunderstorms are so temperamental that way.

In Florida, it can be sparkly blue and sunny one moment, and gray and raining the next. It might rain for an hour, and then, “POP,” the sun is out again – brighter than ever – refreshed, as though awaking from a nap, like a bright, fat, yellow cat ready to pounce on your sun burn. Sometimes it rains all day, for several days, leading to the conclusion that a vacation in foggy England would have been a better option. Either way, a good attitude is the best travel accessory.

Honestly, I don’t always roll with the punches so easily. I find it hard to shift gears from full throttle enthusiasm to sober acceptance. I am persistent, one of my most troublesome qualities, and optimistic – equally troublesome. I have been known, unfortunately, to ignore rain warnings, and cold weather predictions in earnest pursuit of good camping on some distant mountain. As a result, I’ve endured some pretty scary, cold, wet, and maybe even dangerous evenings alone in the dark on top of distant mountains.

Still, I have learned a lot from those experiences. For example, if you are unsure if your tent is truly waterproof, test it at home in the backyard first. Do not use your car headlights to illuminate your campsite while setting up your tent in the dark, because the battery will die, leaving the windows stuck down, in the middle of the rainstorm. It is impossible to start a fire with wet logs, no matter how much lighter fluid one uses. Bigfoot might not be real, but the two inches of rainwater I slept in was very real. My personal favorite: the higher you are up on the mountain, the greater your chances of being struck by lightning.

In other words…I’ve learned the hard way that all trail happy, adventure hungry travelers can only prepare for the best and worst of life’s circumstances by choosing a flexible attitude, one which ensures the enjoyment of whatever comes; lightning, big foot, and flooded tents included.

The Beginning…

Do Not Kiss Gargoyles. That’s how it all began. That’s how I caught strep. I am so sure of this now that I believe all gargoyles should be labeled with this warning, “Kissing gargoyles may be dangerous to your health.” My cousin just hugged the gargoyle. He didn’t get strep. I kissed it. Five hours later I lay immobile on the couch unable to talk, walk, or even pee.

It’s my weak spot. I always fall for the underdog, or in this case should I say under-goyle? It looked so sad, lonely, and repentant, so I kissed it. This was the beginning of my misery, but it wasn’t the final blow. That came later while I was sitting in the doctor’s office.

There I sat with sad Bambi eyes describing the guilty gargoyle when I told the doctor, “I woke up this morning with a 102 temperature!” It was a simple, truthful, innocent plea of, ‘Put me out of my misery, NOW,’ helpless sigh, ‘Please!’ I expected my doctor to respond with a kind, understanding smile, pat me on the shoulder sympathetically, pull out his prescription pad, and write an Rx that would immediately restore my health so I could float home on a rainbow cloud singing Kumbaya. Instead, he grunted sarcastically and said, “That’s a dangerous temperature for someone at your age.”

Someone at MY age? What did that mean? I consider myself young and healthy. My doctor did not agree. I stopped. This was the final blow. With those three words I could hear a nail being hammered into my coffin from across time and space. Somewhere out there, my time line had an end, and I had no idea when the end would be.

Back at home as I hacked up green junk and sipped ginger ale, I reflected on the doctor’s comment. At my age I thought things would be different. I had hoped to accomplish so much more with my life, but over the past 8 years since leaving college and beginning my quasi-career I’d fallen into a rut. A younger version of myself would scoff at the ‘go to work, go home, go to work, go home’ routine I lived.

So after 10 boxes of Puffs, 300,000mg of antibiotics, 40 million diarrhea runs to the bathroom, three prayers asking God to please take me now, one really low point when I cried through my own imaginary funeral, and this truly embarrassing conversation I had with myself: “Oh God, I’m dying! You’re not dying! Yes I am! No you’re not! Get it together Girl!” I decided. It’s time.

It’s time to get out of the rut, start conquering the ‘bucket list,’ and begin living the life I always dreamed I would, and I’m bringing you with me.

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