I’m addicted to seeking adventure.
Note how I said that. It’s not the adventure itself (though they’re generally pretty legit), but the journey to that adventure that I’m addicted to.
I love to look, plan, search. I’m built for it.
That seems to be a theme among story tellers and world adventurers, from recent phenomenons like John Green to age-old favorites like A.A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh 😉 ). The idea of planning and working towards an event being greater than the event itself is reflected throughout their art.
… and sometimes they literally say it.
I tweeted a while ago that I’ve always been the kind of person who views life like a check list and that I want to complete as much as possible before I die. Though I also mentioned I’ve accepted this about myself (and I have), within this addiction to wanderlust lies a hidden battle for me.
You see, with every setting of the sun, I have less time to scratch out the items on that list. So when things slow down, when change doesn’t happen quickly enough, when the list grows at a rate faster than it can be crossed off.. well I shudder.
The lack of pursuing adventure is, perhaps, the greatest factor that urges me deeper into the dark valley of depression.
Let me pause to say that I’m not trying to be dramatic here. I’m just writing as fast as I can to keep up with whatever is pouring out of my heart in this moment.
It’s another topic I don’t mention much for two very frustrating reasons. Reason One: the “just get over it” stigma that everyone associates with it. Reason Two: the “why don’t you just pray that demon away” stigma that Christians associate with it. Yes, some depression is a whimsical call for attention, and some of it is a spiritual attack. BUT. Some of it is unrest, a chemical alteration in your brain’s ability to perceive the world.
And unfortunately, it’s a nasty side effect of life-limiting chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia.
I don’t take the term “depression” lightly. I was diagnosed by several doctors, so please know that I’m not just calling the ebb and flow of life “depression.” I’m talking about the dark creature that haunts your waking and sleeping hours with whispers of anger, defeat, self-loathing. The heavy, suffocating sadness that sits on your chest and laughs at you while you try, struggle, to breathe. The lying, snaking tongue which convinces you that you don’t know how and aren’t worth trying to learn.
It maliciously wanders into the pathways of my mind on a frequent basis, and it takes special enjoyment in torturing me when life gets
too quiet. When change stops coming my way and I’m forced to sit on the same couch, staring out the same windows for days.. weeks.. months.
Thank you, Fibromyalgia.
After all of my reading, studying and researching, it is with unwavering faith that I can say my favorite quote is “I go to seek a great perhaps.” These words were first spoken on the deathbed of the French monk Francois Rabelais in 1553, and they have since traveled the world and ages in the works of many known and unknown artists. It resonates with us.
I have a poster of this simple phrase-turned-mantra situated above my kitchen sink, surrounded by pictures I’ve taken on some of my journeys. It reminds me that there is always a perhaps. There is always something to seek. There is always a reason for passion.
Or, to paraphrase Jane Austen, there is always the happiness that comes from the expectation of happiness.
All I have to do is plan, then go.
I was sitting at my work desk a couple of weeks back, staring at my too-bright computer screens, reading the flood of requests coming in from coworkers who needed my assistance. The same requests, day in and day out. Paralyzingly dull, mundane tasks.
When did I get stuck in such a rut?
Rise with the sun, go to work, eat dinner, fall asleep before the sun can even set.
Sure, I’ve been battling a nasty, lingering flare up. But is that my only excuse?
And if it is, can I find the will power to overcome it?
Not without plans. Something to reach for. To anticipate. To seek.
So I set aside my work for a short time and started planning. I wanted to cram as much adventure as this weary body could possibly take into my 2017. With each hand scrawled note of places to see, hours to drive, items to pack, the weight of that depression began to lift.
Four trips planned and I’m not through this bout yet, but I’m muddling my way to the other side.
When I wake up in the morning, the sun’s glow slowly filtering into my room, I remind myself of what’s to come before I have the chance to ponder what is. It inspires me, fills my lungs with breath, makes the unbearable in-and-out of the day bearable.
On Saturday, my sister and I road tripped to Lake Erie. The change of scenery gave my legs the strength to stand back up; that muddled crawl turned into a walk.
I live for change.
I believe that’s why God called me to what He has, He knew I could never be content with sitting still. I need Him and the adventure He beckons me to. I need to plan. To seek. To go.
I’ve got an estimated hours 417,421 hours left. I don’t intend to waste them.
Post Script: This Friday, May 12th, is International Awareness Day for ME, CFS and FMS. Please mark it on your calendar, find someone who battles these illnesses, then show them that you are aware. Do something, anything, to breathe and walk for them on that day. They will appreciate it more than you can possibly know.