I vividly remember Jr. High because it was a time of discovery. Almost daily, I was learning something new. Not only did I kiss my first girl, but I daily listened to what others were discovering about sex and the many mysteries of the world. The things I had never seen before were endless. I couldn’t wait to go to school, just so I could see what someone brought to show-and-tell in the boys bathroom.
Back in those days, they sent the kids out to play. Mainly, they sent us out because there was nothing to do in the house. There were only about 5 channels on the television, video games weren’t developed and probably they wanted to have some fun of their own. I mean, it was the 70’s. There was even a PSA that came on late at night that said, “It’s 10:00, do you know where your children are?”
The thing that kept us going while we were outside was our attitude. Our adventurous spirit led us from the playground, to a field, to a stream, then to a pond where we did backflips into a murky pond. The mantra was always, “Hey, what’s that?” What we already knew and what we experienced was never as important as what were discovering.
Then we became adults and stop discovering. We developed certainty in religion and tribal wisdom in our groups and we talked about what we already knew and what we discovered last year. We became obsessed with preserving what we accumulated and where we had been. We developed doctrinal statements and creeds and formed clubs to preserve our way of life.
We forgot that life was a flow and that the greatest thing about the world wasn’t what we can explain or remember, it was what is just over the next horizon. We don’t see it by looking back, we see it by leaning forward. We can’t script it based on past adventures, we have to experience based on what draws us forward.
For me, this happens when I am present. Being where I am allows me to notice what is there, so that I might learn from it. Then, I can lean forward and ask the question, “What is that?” I am learning that the great discoveries are within and as long as I am open, discovery and adventure are always within reach. Leaning forward and leaning in to challenges only provides that much more adventure.
At the end of the day, just like in the 70’s, I lay in my bed exhausted from the day but satisfied that I said “yes” to the adventure of today. Tomorrow won’t be a retelling of the past, it will be a brand new quest to discover what I do not already know. I won’t be protecting my doctrines and creeds, I will be discovering what I could not have imagined a year ago.
I challenge you to lean forward and be who you have always been. When you find yourself protecting the past, remember your childhood and how every day was a new day of discovery. See something you’ve never seen, go somewhere you’ve never been, and be what you are becoming. Instead of doing something significant, be where you are and notice the things you have never recognized even within yourself.
Recently, my life has felt like I am a long way from home. At times, my adventures scare me a little. But, in reality, we can’t go home anyway. We can’t recreate the past because most of the elements of the past have evolved and grown and moved on. The universe is geared toward progress and we must move forward with it.
What is that? What does that taste like? How does that work? Can you show me how?
I don’t want to go back to Jr. High. Too much trauma there! But I do want to embody that spirit of discovery that I once had. I want to lean forward and exclaim “What’s that?” in 2022. I hope to see you on the journey, crouched down turning over rocks shortly before darting off to what you see on the horizon. I want us to say “look what we found.” and “did you see this?” I don’t want us to develop a new doctrine or creed, I want us to go on adventures.
Be where you are, be who you are,