At the end of this week my oldest daughter and I are going on our first overnight camping trip together. I’m incredibly excited, and she is as well. Today, we went out and bought some gear for her so we can take a nice long hike while we’re out there.
She’s so funny. She was cracking jokes and making poses the whole time we were out, but she also had great insights and questions about the adventure ahead.
One of my favorite qualities in her is her utter readiness to do anything. She doesn’t think anything sounds “lame.” She wants fun, experiences, adventure – and she sees the potential for those things everywhere. She leans into whatever is in front of her, embracing the core concepts, asking questions, and learning as she goes.
She’s an interesting kid, but even more she’s an interested kid. She wants to know everything. One of my favorite activities with her is taking her many, MANY questions about the universe and guiding her through the process of finding out the answers on her own using the tools she has available. (Parenting tip: The “Calvin’s Dad” method works great here – if she asks a simple question, give her an absurd answer, and she’ll go find out for herself and not ask you again.)
My father once said to me: “If you’re gonna be dumb, be tough.” I think at the time I was probably crying about a self-inflicted injury, hence the statement, but there’s a much deeper wisdom there. We all have flaws. Working on improving them is a good thing, but not all of them can be improved substantially – some things are just part of who we are. So if that’s the case, you should develop counter-balancing traits.
If you’re gonna be dumb, it’s worthwhile to try to get smarter. But if you can’t get smarter, at least be durable enough to outlast your mistakes.
I am naturally a creature of extreme habit. It is almost never my idea to do anything outside of my normal routine. Without some outside influence, all of my days would look identical. But I don’t necessarily want that; despite my inclinations, I love adventure. I love the stories, the experiences, the life. But lacking the natural initiative to do those things, I instead cultivated a different trait – saying “yes” to stuff all the time.
It might not be my natural inclination to seek adventure. But when it comes knocking, I always answer.
I can smell adventure on people. From across the room I can tell that someone is going to turn out to be interesting. That they’ll be someone that brings more adventure into my life in one way or another.
Sometimes I work for those people. Sometimes I befriend them. Sometimes I get one mad at me, just to shake things up. But I like to know them.
My daughter is that, turned up to 11. I try to be like her. Ready to go.