Even though Jason Reitman grew up with a film director father, he thought he might become a doctor. When he discussed this idea with his dad, the elder Reitman gave him the same advice his father had given him when he was thinking about taking a corporate job. "There's not enough magic in it," he suggested. Apparently Jason Reitman agreed and at the ripe old age of thirty he was nominated for an Academy
Award for directing Juno.
I wish there were more Grandpa Reitmans in the world. If so, we wouldn't be seeing this epidemic of what I've named Adventure Deficit Disorder.The symptoms are easy to spot: lack of enthusiasm coupled with loads of self-doubt enhanced by frustration and dissatisfaction.Instead of adventure, life for many has been about accumulation. It's hard to have a life of creation if you've created a life of maintenance.
I've been musing about this ADD epidemic a great deal lately, and remembered the
exact moment when I knew that I wanted to live a life where adventure was given a leading role.
It happened between my sophomore and junior years of high school. (I realize that many of my readers may be too young to recognize the person who inspired this early adventure.) Here's what happened.
During a hot muggy Minnesota summer, I heard that Ricky Nelson would be performing at the State Fair. I immediately began to beg my parents about to drive me the seventy-five miles to see the concert. For many residents of my small town, a trip to the State Fair was about as big an adventure as they allowed themselves every year, but I got the idea that I didn't just want to sit in the grandstand. I wanted to meet my idol. How was that ever going to happen?
I'm not sure how came up with my plan, but I do recall it took several days for me to gather my courage. I marched into the office of our little weekly newspaper and made a proposal to our editor. Might he be able to get me a press pass to attend the pre-concert interview? In exchange, I'd write an article for the paper. He said he'd see what he could do. .
When Mr. Hauck called to tell me my press pass had arrived, I was wildly excited and extremely frightened. A few terror-filled weeks later, I found myself in a dark little room with several actual journalists-and the shy Ricky Nelson.
I still have the yellowed newspaper clipping of that momentous event, but that wasn't the biggest souvenir of my experience. Not by a long shot. That bold risk was genuine evidence that it was possible to create fascinating adventures.
So what's an adventure anyway? My favorite definition says "an adventure is any undertaking the outcome of which cannot be known at the outset." It's the polar opposite of living with scheduled certainty. Adventure is propelled by curiosity, imagination and a willingness to be delighted by the unexpected.
You don't need a trip down the Amazon to qualify as an adventurer.You do, however, have to be an active participant in creating an adventurous life.
So why do so many people living in this rich, fascinating world suffer from Adventure Deficit Disorder? Fear of the unknown, years of advice to play it safe and disapproval of others has kept untold numbers of adventures from being born, but those aren't the only villains.
Happily, it's never too late to add more adventure to our lives, but is it worth it? Writer Victoria Moran believes it is. As she points out, "Every time you put for the effort to do something thrilling, life will etch the joy somewhere that shows."