When we give people the “18 Areas of Life” assignment (part of The Handel Method®) there are always a few areas that stump people. Let me explain. We start coaching with a thorough assessment of your dreams and current reality in all the areas of your life. The “areas” include Body, Love, Career, Money, Time, Family and 12 others. For many of us, we weren’t even aware of some of the areas, let alone that there were 18! I too got stumped by one particular area: “fun and adventure.” If you know me, you know this is not a focus for me. Many people have integrity in the fun and adventure area without even trying, and some of us, myself included, reject that it is even an area we should have to care about.
It’s not that I don’t have fun; I consider my job quite fun and adventurous. I take great pleasure in eating and playing with my kids, too. But can’t you hear a bit of “arrested development” in this area for me? For other people the “slowness” or lack of focus is on money, love, or taking care of themselves, but for me, I actually have to take on fun in order to have it. Everyone has weak areas and everyone benefits from taking them on!
This week I was on vacation with my family so I thought it would be a perfect time to challenge myself to have fun and adventure. Normally, my vacations consist of catching up on work, with a smattering of reading a novel and extra family time thrown in. Not very adventurous! I saw this same pattern coming from a mile away this time and dove straight into my challenge by making one simple rule: have five new adventures on this trip. Because this is unlike me, I knew it would keep me focused on stretching outside myself and ensure that I had fun, or at least adventure.
It all began with a 14 hour drive to Michigan, so right there was plenty of opportunity for new experiences. I started slowly, counting “listening to Alice In Wonderland on tape with the kids” (normally I’d check email) and “checking into an unplanned roadside motel and NOT complaining about the smoke” as “new adventures.”
When we arrived at the beach, I had grander options. On day one, I went inner-tubing with the kids. This was not at all like me to get on a boat when I could have been lying on the beach with my book. My kids were shocked at this, and then even more so when, at the end of our ride, I chose to jump in the lake and swim back to the boat (rather than get towed back). My kids have barely ever seen me fully submerged, and in a cold lake no less! This was very unlike me and so I added it to my list of new adventures.
This last one will make you laugh. I don’t drive; my husband likes to, but I don’t and I am not good at it (probably because I never do it). My husband had taken the kids on a little excursion, giving me time to nap or check my email, but instead I decided to go exploring in town. I took the car, I drove, I parked, I looked around and I bought some novels (of course!) because, now that I had managed some adventures, I knew I would be doing plenty of reading on the beach.
None of these may seem that fun or adventurous to you, but they are to me, and that’s what’s important. For me, each of these things was totally unlike me and therefore it was new and fun. Mostly, I have found that doing things “unlike me” is the best way to expand, have fun and believe that more is possible in life. You certainly do not need to restrict this mentality to vacation times. So, whether you read this in your “normal” life or on vacation, I challenge you to find ways to “be unlike yourself.” Let me know what you learn.
I hope you don’t recognize you in the best of ways.