I readily confess that I am not a particularly adventurous person. Activities seen by some (namely my teenage sons) as “awesome” and “exciting” are classified by me as “insane,” “terrifying,” and “potentially fatal.” Need someone to accompany you on a bungee jump or riding that roller coaster on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas? I’m not your gal. Nope. No, sir. For this reluctance, I blame my body, which apparently has only two adrenaline settings: “Totally Chill,” and “Being Chased by a Lion.”
A couple of months ago, my sister and I met in San Diego for a getaway weekend. As part of the fun, we rented sea kayaks and went out paddling on a guided excursion. What with the life vest and the general unsinkability of the molded plastic kayak, I wasn’t too concerned about my safety. Until we reached the sea cave.
We dozen kayakers were told that, if we desired, one of the guides would lead us into the cave, which resembled a dark, toothy mouth at the base of the coastal cliffs. It was much smaller than I had anticipated—so small that only two people could go in at a time, and only when the guide determined that the incoming wave was not large enough to flip the kayaks and dash us into the sharp rocks.
After conferring, my sister and I decided we would try it.
And that’s when my “Being Chased by a Lion” adrenaline kicked in. As I watched the guide keeping a weather eye on the horizon while directing the other folks in and out, I got more and more anxious. I’m not an accomplished kayaker and could easily imagine any number of bodily injuries I might sustain. In a “me vs. rocks” contest, I assumed the rocks would win every time.
My sister and I were last, and when our turn came, I very nearly bailed.
But, somewhat heartened by the fact that everyone else made it out unscathed, I followed her in through the narrow opening. Paddle paddle paddle, turn turn turn, paddle paddle paddle. And then we were out again, feeling relieved and proud of ourselves.
The whole thing took only a couple of minutes and probably shortened my lifespan by at least a few months, but I’m glad I did it. It reminded me how important a sense of adventure is to us as human beings. It helps stretch us out of our comfort zones and challenges us to grow in new ways. And that makes me want to find more opportunities to fit small adventures into my life in the coming year. But I’ll still draw the line at bungee jumping.
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