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a blog by Chris Barrow

The Adventure Life


Today brings digital news of the unexpected death of another friend of a friend.

The second in as many weeks.

People I didn’t know.

Who they were isn’t relevant here – those bereaved know that they have our sympathy and love and that we share their bewilderment.

A favourite weekly read is the marvellous Brain Pickings newsletter by Maria Popova, who focuses each issue on books that have caught her attention and the messages therein.

The graphic above is taken from a work featured recently, The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for your life of Epic Adventure, by Caroline Paul.

In Popova’s review she shares the essence of the book:

part memoir, part manifesto, part aspirational workbook, aimed at tween girls but speaking to the ageless, ungendered spirit of adventure in all of us, exploring what it means to be brave, to persevere, to break the tyranny of perfection, and to laugh at oneself while setting out to do the seemingly impossible.

I wonder how many of us have periods in our day, week, month, year, life where we look at the calendar and just think “meh”?

The Adventure Life is one in which every activity and conversation, personal or professional, would fall in the left hand pie-chart.

The Perfect Imperfectionist in me recognises that there will be a Pareto here – no matter how skilful or lucky we are, there will be 20% “meh”.

  1. Learning of a delayed train on a station with no waiting room on a foggy December night;

  2. Queueing in passport control;

  3. Paperwork for the government.

The demise of a friend (or a trip to Mumbai) paradoxically helps us to keep perspective when we are frustrated by these first-world inconveniences.

If your work, a relationship, the place you are today, is The Un-Adventure Life, move on – it isn’t worth it.

  1. explore what it means for you to be brave;

  2. preservere;

  3. break the tyranny of perfection;

  4. laugh at yourself while you attempt the seemingly impossible.

The conclusion of The Adventure Life, no matter at what age, is enough.

(with sympathy – for Sonya and Nicola)

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