“Jump! Just jump!” My instructor yells to me as I near the gaping crevasse. “Its a LONG way down!” I scream back against the wind. My legs are shaking in fear, but the summit of Mt. Baker towers just over the next ridge. I muster my courage and I jump… …and, my foot slips!
But, I catch myself, I’m just fine. I smile, move forward and finish the climb.
Life isn’t lived in a book, not even in a textbook! How can it be that many of my friends have studied AP Environmental Science, but have never gone camping; they build robots and have studied Physics, but have never used a power tool, and they have driver’s licenses, but have never used jumper cables? Webster tells us that adventure is “participation in exciting undertakings”. I’m not sure Webster would consider using a power drill an “adventure,” but I did.
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I was the first in line to drill, to experiment, and to find a way to use my new skill.
“Zane, hold onto the rope on the front like you are riding a bull in a rodeo,” my Dad explains as he positions me on the front tube of the river raft, “If you fall, fall INTO the boat! OK?”
“Got it!” I reply excitedly.
Three minutes later, he fishes me, disoriented and cold, but smiling and exultant, from the icy water.
I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I’m not constantly seeking thrills. Safety is always at the top of my priorities. I check my ropes. I stay away from big animals. I know how to swim, and I ALWAYS wear clean underwear. I don’t just step into the unknown recklessly; I plan and I prepare for my adventures.
“All right. Just one more screw.” *clink* “There we go, it’s off!” I yell from inside the hood of my soon-to-be electric car.
“Let’s get it out of there!” Mark grunts as he begins to crank the hoist lifting the motor out of the car.
I scratch an itch on my forehead, probably smearing it with grime, “if this adapter spline works, maybe we can get the new engine in before dinner!”
I was not a courageous kid. I was shy and conservative. I had trouble simply asking for water from a waitress. Slowly, one interaction at a time, (some by happenstance and some through my Dad’s “gentle encouragement”) I grew more courageous. That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid anymore. Spending every penny in my bank account to buy parts to build an electric car and leaving home for college are scary! But I’ve come to believe that, as the framed picture in the bathroom at home quoting Helen Keller says, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing”.