Who doesn’t want to be considered adventurous? Exciting? Just about everyone. So what holds us back? When I ask myself I immediately want to shout “Nothing! Let’s go!” And then reality steps in, or the worries, or the lack of ideas, or even the lack of motivation to get out of the house. I feel like this is a problem that most people have.

I am in my twenties, I am a college student, and I love to have “adventures.” So why is it that I find “seizing the day” so difficult? This is by no means a catch-all article or a certified report. But this is what I have come to realize about myself as I have asked myself this question.

Hammock-ing on my grandparents farm. 

What stops us from seizing the day?

It could be a variety of reasons. Time constraints, worries or fears, or lack of ideas. I know I have used every single one of these as the reason I haven’t “done anything cool” recently.

First: Time Constraints.

Between taking 14 credits, working 15-20 hours a week, and family and community obligations, it is easy to throw up my hands and declare that I have no time. However, if I take an honest look at an average day there is also plenty of social media use, Netflix binging, re-reading books and so many other things that I let absorb my time. None of these things are bad, but I have come to realize that if I managed my time better I would have time to grab my bag and head out the door when invited to go do things. If I plan my time I can make the most of the opportunities that come up. So what can I do:

  1. Get things done before the due dates. Don’t procrastinate.
  2. Set specific time aside to do things. That could be the weekends or even just an hour or two a day.
  3. Limit time spent on my phone or watching movies.

My brother snowboarding in town behind the pick-up truck on Christmas day. 

Second: Worries and Fears.

As much as we hate it, this is a real thing that many have to deal with. Especially for those who struggle with anxiety or depression this can be almost crippling. A few semesters ago I was really struggling with this. My roommates would invite me to go hiking and before I knew it I was listing off flash floods (there was rain and the hike was by the river), car troubles, or injuries as excuses not to go. As drastic as these might seem now, these were valid fears that I was feeling at the time. I passed up a lot of fun opportunities at that time because of similar fears. Looking at it now I realize that I should have handled that semester better. So what do I do:

  1. Plan things out. It was far more difficult if it was spur of the moment.
  2. Do things that scare you anyways. I found that going rock climbing, even though I was scared of heights, helped make it better because I was “adventuring” in a safe environment.
  3. Be open with your friends and family about the reason you are struggling to go and do things. I would stop planning things with people because I hated disappointing them when I would cancel on them.
  4. Go with people you trust to make smart decisions that won’t place you in danger.
  5. Seek out help if the fear and anxiety are preventing you from doing things you would like to do.

Rock climbing helps me conquer my fear of heights. 

Third: Lack of Ideas.

When you finally have time to go and have “adventures,” it can be difficult if you can’t come up with anything to do. It always seems so easy to come up with things to do when you don’t have the ability to actually go and do them. As a result, it is easy to waste that time away like I mentioned before. So what do I do:

  1. Write ideas down. Even if you can’t do them right then, it is a good idea to make a list to refer to later.
  2. Make a bucket-list. This can help you push for those things when opportunities present themselves or can firm in your mind what big things you would like to accomplish.
  3. Ask other people what they like to do. If you have a friend that always seems to be doing something really cool ask to come along or for ideas.
  4. I know as students this is one of the worst things to hear, but it is a lot more fun if it leads to cool new experiences.
  5. Talk to the locals. I attend a university close to where I grew up and it always amazes me how many people think there is nothing to do in the area. It never hurts to ask.
  6. Take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. An example of this was when I got to go white water rafting at a family reunion.
  7. Be open to new things. As hard as this one is, it can be the key to getting out of the rut of no ideas.

White water rafting at my family reunion. This is now one of my favorite things. 

Choose Your Own Adventure

“Adventuring” is unique to each person. What may seem like an adventure to me could be very different to you. For me it is anything that breaks away from the monotony that life can become. It usually involves getting out of my comfort zone or getting into nature. The most important thing is that we do it. “Adventures,” whatever they are, can help make life amazing as we create memories and grow closer to the people we experience them with.

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