These past few weeks have been full to the brim with fun and new experiences. We were blessed by a friend who gave us two badges to SXSW here in Austin and several of our days were spent downtown shuffling to and from events among tens of thousands of locals and visitors. SX is a large, eight-day festival that quite literally takes over the city. It incorporates interactive technology, music, and film and brings in tens of thousands of attendees each year. While we had heard of this festival, we could have never prepared for its grandiosity until moving to Austin. Not only does SX converge the smartest minds from across the globe, it’s also a weeklong party. Needless to say, we had a blast. We networked, we learned, and we loved every minute of it.
During the interactive portion, we had the opportunity to listen to several great speakers. Casey Neistat, Gary Vaynerchuck, Michael Nieling, Tim Ferriss, Cheryl Strayed… the list goes on and on. We met people from Denmark and Germany, ate free tacos, and learned the correct pronunciation of our last name (courtesy of our new Danish friends). We left the conference inspired and tired and we’ll certainly be looking over our pages of notes for weeks to come.
SXSW ended on a high note. During his keynote that Friday afternoon, Garth Brooks announced that he would be offering a free concert for Austin residents only. Though tickets sold out within one minute of going live, we were two of the 50,000 other Austinites to get lucky. So that Saturday evening, in 80-degree weather under a gorgeous, star-filled sky, we rocked out to Garth Brooks. It was a moment that will be remembered for years to come. The glow of the city, the reflection on the lake, being surrounded with vibrant energy and smiles, and the sweet hum of country music… it was perfect.
Having cancer has taught me to live, experience, and soak it all in. No matter if it’s a concert under the stars in the city you love most, or a two-hour drive to find a remote winery with breathtaking scenery, or a kayaking adventure on a beautiful summer day, or enjoying tacos and margaritas with friends, or hiking to the top of a mountain simply for the view… life is meant to be experienced!
It’s easy to get stuck in life after cancer or any other trauma for that matter. It’s easy to curl into a ball and rest because the battle fought was exhausting and you’re beyond tired. It’s easy to stay home in your comfort zone. It’s easy to stick to your usual routine, not stepping too far out of the boundaries you created in order to feel secure. It’s easy to use the excuse of, “I’m too busy” or, “I don’t have time.” It’s easy to settle into monotony. But I’m learning that easy isn’t best. Easy is comfortable, and comfort is oh so good. But adventure and experience and really living life instead of letting life live you is what it’s all about.
With the start of the new year, my husband and I decided to take one small step to actively LIVE our life. We have deemed each and every Saturday our “Adventure Day.” To us, this means that no matter how big or small, detailed or straight forward, an hour or all day, we do something NEW. And I must say, it’s been the most rewarding decision we’ve ever made. It not only strengthens us as a couple, but pushes each of us out of our comfort zones and helps us grow.
Adventure Day not only represents spontaneity, but it also symbolizes a life well-lived. How many of us, at the end of our time here on Earth will think, “Did I live enough?” Right now, ask yourself that question. If you had eyes to the future and knew your last breath was around the bend, would you be satisfied with how you chose to live? It’s okay, you’re not alone in your answer. I’m still not satisfied and feel I have an incredible amount to do before entering the gates of eternity. Why are we often required to face our own mortality in order to really learn how to soak it all up? Cancer stole so much from me, but it gifted me eternal vision and has radically changed my perspective on the purpose of this life.
Adventuring removes barriers, manifests breakthrough, unites, births joy, and uplifts the dark corners of our souls. It ignites in us a passion for this life that we often forget is meant to be experienced actively, not sedentarily. It pushes us off the cliff of comfort and gives us wings to fly in vibrant ways. It freshens stagnancy, quenches deserts, and elevates us to living the way we are called to live. Adventuring gives us new perspective and creates vision. Though comfort is easy and adventure is often hard, the rewards for the latter are much greater than comfort zones can ever provide. Adventure is powerful.
Ask yourself again, “What am I doing to LIVE?” I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and experience something new, letting adventure take hold in your life.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (ESV)
“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”