Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a true adventure.

the other day i was spreading some newspaper out on the floor to catch stray paint, and a review of Eat, Pray, Love caught my eye.

as i glanced it over, i noticed that whoever authored the review wrote with a merciless intensity that suggested he/she wanted to be published yet hidden at the same time. he/she suggested that Eat, Pray, Love places bored, spoiled wanderers with the time and resources to run across the world on pedestals as "true adventurers" or "real-go-getters in life".

the author also suggested that the main character's journey is actually nothing more than glorified selfishness and irresponsibility, and that Eat, Pray, Love is enabling and encouraging such thinking, all the while deeming "normal life" as a hindrance to finding our "true selves". i'll never know what this reviewer was really thinking, but it seems to me that whoever it was was feeling a little ashamed or insecure about the lack of adventure in his/her own life.

i can certainly see where the merciless author is coming from, but i've neither read book nor seen the movie, so i can't say whether or not i agree.

but Eat, Pray, Love set aside, i think that the author was wrong to write-off a "normal" lifestyle as in impossibility for adventure.

Merriam Webster's online dictionary defines adventure as, "an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks".

if Merriam Webster is right, then an adventure is not characterized by geographical distance, how much money it costs, or how glamourous or fun it is. In other words, if Merriam Webster is right, as long as a little fear or a little risk is involved, an adventure is just as possible sitting right at home as it is on a transcontinental journey or in some foreign place.

this realization empowered me, and made me excited, honestly. because since january, there've been times i've found myself cowering inside- bracing myself for coming pain and anguish. i've found myself secretly thinking through my escape from this torture and back into my disorder or at least writing off the possibility of full recovery and resting in the comfortable idea of clinging to some habits or behaviors forever. i feel strangely satisfied in thinking, i'm just not there yet. i probably won't do/think that for another couple of years. at times i've been a victim- at the mercy of of my disorder. but it doesn't have to be that way.

i realized that real recovery is an adventurous journey like in some kind of epic story- fighting my way through each day- running straight into the most dangerous and fearful things i can think of- knowing it's going to be awful and wonderful and that i'm going to win- coming out better, happier, more alive than i ever knew i could be. it's been moments of this type thinking that have gotten me where i am, and it's going to be this type thinking as a constant that's going to get me recovered and that's going to start making this fun.

the day before my brother left for college, he wanted to eat lunch at his favorite italian place (italian = my biggest fear food). i decided not to be wimpy and order a salad, but to have an adventure instead. i ate some pizza. not too much, not too little. and when we got home i wanted to busy myself to burn it off and avoid the guilt, but i let my adventure continue. i decided to sprawl on the living room couch instead and watch TV with my brother for the last time for several months. it was the perfect end to our summer.

over a week out from the pizza adventure, i find myself sure of two things: that i'm no bigger than i was before, and that i'm stronger, much less afraid. but i think the most important thing i learned was that many adventures (like pizza) might seem completely hopeless in terms of rewards or happy outcomes, but the most hopeless of apparent dangers often end up being the sweetest. in other words: pizza is delicious.

it's a beautiful way to approach our problems, i think. not as worn out victims just scraping around to survive, but as adventurers on a voyage to recovery from something. we're probably unsure of how we'll do it, but set in absolution of the outcome: victory.

so regardless of whether or not the merciless author's conclusions were correct, whether a trip around the world to figure things out entails immaturity or irresponsibility or not, i think the point- the only way to get anywhere- is to knowingly put yourself in some danger.

i'm not talking about jumping in front of cars or eating rat poison or anything. i'm talking about the dangerous things that might hurt if they happen, but will undoubtedly hinder us if they don't. for some, those things are eating pizza or taking naps or trying to understand what's beautiful about health. for others those things are letting people in, telling someone "no", or trying and failing.

regardless of what our dangers are, it's time to be excited about defeating them- adventure towards them, through them, and past them. to let them happen and let who we are result.

i'm no longer the victim. i'm the adventurer and i'm going to win. join me.



1 comment:

  1. favorite line:
    "it's a beautiful way to approach our problems, i think. not as worn out victims just scraping around to survive, but as adventurers on a voyage to recovery from something. we're probably unsure of how we'll do it, but set in absolution of the outcome: victory."
    proud of you. great post - screw the GRE :)