Do you know that there is a part of each of ourselves that needs adventure and daring. Boredom is not a healthy state. We all need change and variety. The question is how can we get changes in our lives without disrupting our personal apple cart or taking unnecessary risks? Sometimes we are hampered by health, sometimes by money, and sometimes we just are too overloaded in our daily patterns of life to build in anything new. But still, that innate need for change and variation in our lives will claw at us, whether we listen to it or not.
I certainly know that I have a desire for stimulation beyond the routines of my life. When I was young I wanted to meet people from other lands and desperately wanted the adventures of travel. That part of me was slightly satisfied by a pen pal from Wales when I was in High School. But really, I simply still craved travel and it nagged at me until I went to Europe on my own with a friend at 20. And it still nags at me. Fortunately, I have discovered as I age that we can often find adventure and new friendships right in front of our noses. Here are two examples from my life.A few years ago I went to NYC to do my monthly television show, The Enchanted Self. I took the subway (or I should say, I tried to take the subway) downtown to Chambers St. to do a bit of shopping beforehand. As I waited on the platform I saw one of those truly unique characters that could only be either a true eccentric living in NYC or a character actor. Which was he in his frock coat and derby hat? I was so busy imagining! Suddenly we were on the same train together. He asked how to get to Chambers St. and I told him. Then I suggested he cross the platform at 14th St. to hop the express, which I was about to do. He did and that was the beginning of an adventure. First of all, the subway car started and we suddenly realized it was going uptown, not downtown. Secondly, he told me that he had to get downtown to Chambers St. to stop in at the new home of The New York Sun magazine. He had been hired by them to promote the new paper. Ah! He was a character actor. I was so excited.
I asked him whom he was portraying. He told me that he does Teddy Roosevelt, all over the country. His name is James Foote. Well, the next thirty minutes were as if in a dream. He kept going in and out of character. He gave me Teddy’s opinions on the world as it is today-by the way there was plenty of turmoil 100 years ago! He also explained that the White House was called as such by Teddy. Prior to that it had been the executive mansion! He told me the sad story of how Teddy lost his first wife and mother within a couple of days and how he went into the wilderness for a couple of years to restore his sense of well-being and optimism.
Interesting to me, optimism was one of Teddy’s major personality traits. By the way, we were back going downtown again, on another train and I was still listening to Teddy Roosevelt-speaking to me! It may have been the hot subway, but it was music to my ears to hear: “Always do the best you can with what you have, and where you are.” We certainly had to, as once again we were on the wrong train and it actually started back uptown at 14th St. On the third try, we finally emerged at Chambers St. Mr. Foote reminded me (I never knew this) that the subways were first put in because there had been a snowstorm in NYC that paralyzed the city for weeks and weeks. Mr. Roosevelt was significant in getting the subways built. How ironic, that we were going back and forth, as we were on the line affected by 9/11 and as infrequent travelers, neither of us realized that most of the trains only went to 14th St. and then started back up. But then if we had realized this fact, I wouldn’t have had such a great adventure!
I emerged from the underground a changed woman—Imagine Teddy Roosevelt and myself in conversation? (PS. Do you know why Teddy Bears are called Teddy Bears? I do now.)
Now come back next time for my second example. It involves something really right in front of my nose and also the idea of a pen pal. Can you guess what I am talking about? I bet you can. So stay tuned…..