By Mark Kenyon
Have you ever dreamed of taking a deer hunting trip to the Midwest? Or booking that Alaskan moose hunt? Or road tripping to Colorado to chase elk with a bow? Or hiking alpine ridges in search of mule deer? Or experiencing some other crazy adventure that you read about or saw on TV or heard about from your buddy?
I’m betting a lot of you have. But I’m also betting that a lot of you still haven’t gotten around to making that trip happen. You’ll do it someday, right? That’s what you tell yourself. I’m guilty of it too.
But then five years, or ten years, or twenty years pass by and you’re still just dreaming of that trip. And then someday even farther down the line, you’re sitting in your rocking chair, unable to get out and do those things, wondering where the time went and wishing you’d chased some of those dreams.
This is the story of so many people’s lives. But why is that?
A recent article from a climbing/outdoor adventure writer I enjoy, Brendan Leonard, really nailed this question on the head and his advice for overcoming it is spot on as well. It’s something I think we all need to hear, so I wanted to share a portion of it with you below. (FYI, R-rated language below)
“I am not a behavioral psyschologist, but I think there are a number of reasons big trips/adventures don’t happen. The biggest one is that we procrastinate them, as if instead of being the coolest thing we might ever do in our lives, they are something like cleaning the gutters of our house or going to the dentist. Why do we procrastinate big trips? We’re busy.
Well, seriously, f*** busy. We’re all busy now. Here’s how it happened: a long time ago, you weren’t busy. Then you got busy with a bunch of shit, some of it that you made up, and now you’re always busy. That time long ago when you weren’t busy, that would have been the time to take that big trip to South America or Scandinavia or Alaska, wouldn’t it? You didn’t have shit to do. Except you didn’t have any money. Now maybe you have money, but you have no time.
Here’s how you plan a big trip and make it happen: Look at your calendar. Yeah, I know it’s busy—we already covered that. There is a point where you have nothing scheduled. Could be six months from now, could be eight months from now, could be a year from now. Keep the calendar open.
Now make a quick list of all the stuff you want to do in the magical time we call “someday.” Some of the stuff is big, some of the stuff is small. Focus on the big stuff. The trips you’d have to take two or three weeks off work, or a month, or hell, just quit your job to do oh but heavens no you couldn’t ever do that, yes you could. Pick one of those big things and figure out how long you would have to be away to do it. Two weeks? Great. Write it on the calendar, in the appropriate season (i.e. you don’t want to try to do a weeklong backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon in July).
Now, do not break that date for anything. Find a partner for this adventure, someone who does not drift into “Flake Mode,” ever. Commit. Tell your boss about it and confirm that you will not be in the office those days. Treat this adventure plan as if it is a wedding. Weddings are bulletproof, because everyone knows how much planning goes into them. Even when shit completely melts down at the office, no one messes with the person getting married. Ever heard someone say, “Denise, I know you’re getting married on Saturday, but we really need you to come in to the office …” Hell no you don’t. This adventure is your wedding. You are getting married to not procrastinating your dreams any longer. Congratulations.
In the months between now and the time of your big adventure, you will still be busy. Guess what, busy is not going away for most of us. It’s the new reality. Again, f*** busy. Work within it. The adventure you have planned is a giant rock in the middle of a river, and the waters of Busy will flow around it. You are not going to magically find yourself not busy eight months from now. Your boss isn’t going to stop piling shit on your plate. You are not going to “get caught up” and have a big sigh of relief and look at your calendar and go, “Would you look at that, nothing going on next week. Guess I’ll just buy some tickets tonight and finally go to Bali tomorrow.”
So make a plan now. That nagging feeling you have that your life is passing you by will go away, and be replaced by a very real need to buy gear and maps and train and talk a friend into going with you, as well as a joyous feeling called anticipation, which is about a million times cooler than procrastination.”
Life is short folks. Health can be fleeting. Opportunities don’t last forever. Time flies.
So go out and do something awesome while you still can.
Yes, life is busy. Adventures cost money. Trips require sacrifice in other ways. But trust me on this; 30 years from now you will not remember the office work week of October 7-14, 2016, but I guarantee you’ll remember waking up on top a mountain ridge. Or slipping into that perfect early season treestand on your first midwest hunt. Or sharing an epic fishing trip with your son or your wife or your dad.
Make the time. Save the money. Quit making excuses and just do it.
Be sure to check out the full article from Brendan Leonard and more great outdoor adventure articles/stories over at Semi-Rad.com