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Are You Willing To Risk Everything For Adventure?

Are You Willing To Risk Everything For Adventure?

There are some people who love and enjoy pushing themselves to their limits, to seek adventure and thrills that others would probably deem a bit mental. I am definitely not one of these people – the closest I get to an adventure fuelled adrenaline rush is when I manage to carry a mug of coffee without spilling any of it – but Laura Potts of Dumb Little Man wants to know: are you?

Do you hanker to hike the Appalachian Trail? Care to climb Kilimanjaro? Dream of daunting feats of physical fortitude? The wife of a wilderness junkie would like to hear why. There is a point when most men, no matter how derring do their attitude, might decide that the prospect of combining saltwater and blisters in sensitive spots is a discomfort too far.

And then there’s my husband.

Now I’m not saying he has acquired any of the aforementioned salt-stung-sore-behind symptoms – yet. But it’s just one of the tantalizing prospects I’ve asked him to consider in his blinkered quest to row the Atlantic.

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Ocean.

In a tiny boat.
You read that right. We are now deep in the throes of his latest (PleaseLetMeGoAwayForThreeMonthsMinimum(ButPossiblyForever) attempt to conquer the greatest, most challenging physical and mental endurance test he can think of.

Best case scenario, this involves him achieving his lifelong goal in a matter of months, in one piece, with a job (and wife and four kids) when he returns, super fit and with a tan to put David Hasselhoff to shame. Not that he, or especially I, have any aspirations for him to emulate The Hoff in any conceivable way whatsoever.

Worst case scenario doesn’t bear putting into words, but let’s say that blisters on any part of his body would be the least of any of our worries.

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Sound familiar?

So are you one of these guys who believes life is lived to the fullest with some extreme physical challenge to work toward? And if so, can you please explain to the rest of us what drives you to want to risk everything – your bodily and psychological well-being, your loved ones, the home and work life you’ve worked so hard to create – when you could scale back to something that makes more sense to the majority of the world? Like spending a meaningful afternoon with a chainsaw, a brush pile and some matches, for instance?

I’m not saying men should be complacent or lazy or never strive to achieve something monumental, especially just because they’ve chosen to marry and have children. We all deserve to have individual aspirations and realize our dreams. What’s more, in many cases – my husband’s included – the biggest challenge is not the physical aspect but the fundraising for charity, and that’s an admirable goal.

But no matter how many times he tries to explain that rowing the Atlantic, a 3,000-mile test of human will against the elements, is what drives him to get out of bed in the morning, I still don’t get it. The comforts of home, it seems, are no match for the wide open sea – sharks, sunstroke, sheer boredom and all.

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He’s not having a midlife crisis: this has been in the works since we met in early 2004. At that time, he was well into the planning stages of his oceanic mission, but our whirlwind marriage, my move to another continent to be with him and a couple of kids in quick succession – joining the two daughters he was already raising – put those efforts on hold. For a while I foolishly believed we, his family, were enough to have knocked him to his senses, but I’m beginning to see that love might conquer all, as long as there’s still room for conquering the occasional physical exploit.

So at the time of writing, he’s established a fund that he’s enthusiastically finding new and ever more bonkers ways of contributing to (no franchise coffee shop’s couches will go un-pilfered for loose change when he’s around); he has the skeleton of a support team in place; and his exercise routines are ratcheting up in anticipation of a December 2015 launch from Spain’s Canary Islands, Antigua-bound.

Bigmouth Strikes Again

Others might chalk up his behavior to the unrealistic fantasies of a big-talking dreamer. But he’s certainly no bigmouth, and I’ve seen him complete every challenge he’s set his mind to, from climbing the highest mountain in Europe – twice –  to cycling the length of Great Britain, only stopping to hike the Three Peaks (Mount Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England and Ben Nevis in Scotland) along the way. Much as I might wish otherwise, this is no midlife crisis that starts out as a plan to buy a yellow Porsche 911 and ends with a souped-up Ford Fiesta. This man starts as he means to go – or rather, row – on.

Nor is he a selfish oaf who lacks emotional intelligence. With every marathon, biking challenge or other endurance test, he’s raised significant money for, and awareness of, important causes, such as help for abused and neglected children. He works in a demanding health care role that requires empathy and patience and, moreover, he’s a caring, thoughtful husband and devoted, involved dad. Still.

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There must be others out there with similar ambitions. And if you’re anything like my husband, you’d probably like your chance to explain why your desires to push the boundaries and live a life less ordinary are still compatible with being a good partner, father, man. So here’s your chance.

Just don’t expect the rest of us to sympathize with your blisters.

Laura Potts is a writer and editor living the American dream – in rural England. Before moving across the pond in 2005, she was a staff reporter for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. She has no ambitions to row across a puddle, much less an ocean.

Are You A ‘Call Of The Wild Man’ Willing To Risk Everything? | Dumb Little Man

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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