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Adventure: When Life's Calling isn't According to Plan

Adventure: When Life's Calling isn't According to Plan

"A calling is not some carefully crafted plan. It's what's left when the plan goes horribly wrong." 

-Jeff Goins, The Art of Work

In my world, purists would call this "adventure": Something must go wrong in order for it to be rightfully used. It's only by experiencing some hazard that you come out (hopefully) with the right to deem it an adventure.

I'm not a fan of analogies, but the connection between "adventure" and Jeff's version of "a life calling" snapped when I came across his quote yesterday in a book.

It was maybe two years ago, possibly more, that I started looking at life as that pure form of adventure. The ups and downs, the navigating unexpected pitfalls, the beautiful parts after putting up with the backbreaking challenges: it all fell into adventure's definition.

This perspective helps me cope with the fact that I always seem to fall short of my really big life plans.

I plan and research goals like crazy. And while I wouldn't say many of the plans have gone horribly wrong, at least a few did. Many more just went the regular sort of "wrong."

Overall, my life plan is nothing close to my life's reality.

Folks usually say that trials are blessings in disguise. I believe that. Yet, I haven't figured out the life blessing from the combination of shortcomings I have experienced. That's cool, too; that's probably realized only at the end of our time on earth. But the bigger issue is for a number of years now, life pretty much feels like a waiting game, just a constant search to solutions to obstacles. Those obstacles, so persistent in blocking my paths, feel like they're keeping me from "my calling."

But that's precisely why the adventure analogy fits. There's no doubt that there will be a solution; it might be the kind I want, but more likely, it will be something entirely different. However, the tactic is the same: simply being more persistent than the obstacles.

Isn't that exactly what adventure requires? It asks that we find our way around so we can gain our goals, or even shift our objectives if needed.

Even if I can't yet see the bigger picture that's being created out of my (currently) blocked paths, it's easy to see the good that's come from the smaller trials here and there. Many times, those little trials kept me clear of circumstances that would have been much worse. When that realization happens, perseverance is rekindled. And though navigation to my ultimate goals is still super murky—I'm lost more than half the time, tired almost all of the time, nearly called it quits and sat down on the path so life could do what it wanted—those little beacons along the way, the trials turned mini-triumphs, hold me steady on my course.

There's a deep-seated belief that's never wavered even with the prolonged "being lost" feeling I have. That rock-steady belief drives me on to finding solutions and reaching objectives. It's a simple belief, but strong enough to feel like knowledge.

I know good is coming.

There's no way around it, let the obstacles be what they may. There are detours and changes to my life's "calling," but to do good is my fate.

Luckily, it's also open-ended enough that I only have to realize that this "life calling" will manifest itself in the way it chooses and I'll be happy in whatever life goal it allows me to obtain. I might have specific plans but rarely does an adventurer dictate every outcome, no matter how much they prepare their route. Similarly, rarely is a life "calling" a path that we clearly lay out and find ourselves having a smooth go at it all along the way.

And according to our purist friends' definition, it fails to be an adventure if it does.

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