The digital signs lining the terminal in the Denver International Airport shouted their destinations in an annoying red glow. As I passed each sign, I nodded inwardly.
San Jose, California. Check.
Las Vegas, Nevada. Check.
Portland, Oregon. Check.
Boise, Idaho. Check.
Billings, Montana. Check.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. What was that one doing here with the flights departing to the West? I shrugged. Check.
My gypsy spirit rose. I imagined myself changing my ticket for Tulsa, Oklahoma, and getting on one of the other flights headed–anywhere else.
My older brother, Jonathan, and younger sister, Monica, used to talk about doing something similar years ago. As they bounced along in our 1973 motorhome (lovingly nicknamed “The Hippie Mobile”) or in our 1972 motorhome (with the plexiglass passenger window and the awful brakes), they’d see signs for this national park with amazing sights or that museum of ancient relics.
“We have a full tank of gas,” they’d say. “Wouldn’t it be fun to take our time and stop wherever we wanted to? Just drive off and do our own thing?”
I agreed with them back then. I agree now. Sometimes those little road trips sounded like more fun than driving to the next meeting at a church somewhere. What is that worn-out saying . . . hmm . . . something about a brief life, with an admonition to do everything possible now? No waiting anymore, just doing. And doing “it” now, whatever “it” is.
Easily said, but not as easily done. At times, all of us long to forget deadlines and duties and strike out on new trails. The lure of adventure shouts to us even as we go about our boring routines. Get up. Get dressed. Go to work. Come home and crash. Fumble through a few “to-do” items. Crawl into bed. Check. Check. Check.
Although I am a child of the open road and had already been on hundreds of adventures, I stood in the Denver International Airport, staring greedily at each sign and longing to step on a plane–any plane–that would take me away from the routine of daily life. I had been blessed with adventures some people only dream of doing someday. Why was I still craving more?
The gypsy spirit in me cringes at blocked-out schedules and demanding appointments. Not that I am a stranger to responsibility. I have had responsibility before–we are good friends. But life used to conform a little more to my own terms, with flexibility built into my schedule. Now I had to live the “normal” life and tie myself down with the typical 9-5 and the low hum of routines.
Elementary, right? Yet this lesson is one I know I am not learning alone–others tell me they feel the same. Life is not always lived in the fast lane, either figuratively or literally. Sometimes life is simply, like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, learning “to labor and to wait.”
Each of us faces a quiet battle of our own, a battle to overcome our own daily routines and still feel adventurous.
Perhaps, instead of wild new adventures, this is the greatest adventure of all.
Slowly, I am learning that schedules and routines and appointments need not hinder me from enjoying life to the fullest. I need to remember that they are the adventure. I cannot let those annoying red signs distract me from this amazing adventure called life.