My friend called me the other day and remarked how my life was boring. Always blogging about things in the past, riding the same trails, skiing the same areas, and working. He was trying to get me to come out to the west and do an epic mountain bike trip with him. He has the good fortune of being retired, kids raised and doing well, and has time to be adventurous in a most excellent environment. He means well and we like to get together but at the moment, my structured life is ok until further notice. I will still get together with him and my other friends but there are pressing things now that preclude spur of the moment adventure trips.
But what is adventure anyhow? Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. In many ways I was and still am adventurous compared to most people but then again, I do not take motorcycle trips to the Arctic Circle or climb Mt. Everest. The real purpose of my blog is to tell people the funny stories about my past adventures and share some thoughts of encouragement to those who might want to give the outdoors a try. From the couch to a 5K? Maybe pitch a tent with their son or daughter in the back yard and look at the stars. Or perhaps, take up a winter sport and enjoy another season. Adventure and excitement is relative. Most people have to take advantage of their own local environment and if they plan, they can take that adventurous trip of a lifetime.
So in that spirit of perceived adventure, I will recount a tale with which many of you can surely relate, including my friend from out west. It is perhaps the most rewarding, perplexing, mystifying, aggravating, worrysome and loving adventure that I have ever experienced. I have had a lot of adventures but none as interesting as nurturing the most narcissistic of the homo sapien clan………….the teenager. It all begins with the driving lesson. The wide eyed nervous but thrilled demeanor is on stage with the first step on the gas pedal, the first hard braking, and oversteering. Through it all, dad is patiently in the passenger seat calmly giving directions in the pool parking lot. After a series of turns and three point turns, the route expands on the park roads until that unexpected remark,” Can I drive to see my friend Jackie?” Imagine the bravado on the first day? But, the 59 year old kid, seeing confidence and some ability allows the adventure to continue to see the girl so that the brand new driver can impress. The teenage fascination with the opposite sex is on display with the window down and the cool look to the girl with the big smile.
Fast forward to inner city, AAU basketball and the land of hip hop( see picture above). Dad and his Rolling Stones and Byrds can’t quite relate but neither did his parents at the sight of long hair and Elton John glasses back in the day. The 59 year old kid and his spirit of adventure is amazed at learning about Wiz Khalifa, Dr. Dre and the world of social media. Nobody talks- they text. Communication is reduced to the I-Phone and the infernal X Box live. Life expands for the teenager in the man cave of the house where video games reign supreme. Remember from past blogs that Janet and I taught the teenager how to ski, swim, hit a baseball, throw a football, shoot a basketball, and now it is all put aside for the fair sex and shooting aliens in the virtual world. When the teenager comes up out of his cave, he is hungry. He eats, doesn’t say much and back to the virtual world and texting his friends. Fortunately this creature has a job at the local beer distributor thanks to some dear friends and has learned the value of making a buck.
Moving on, the high school adventure is at an end and graduation, college orientation, and eventually the college experience awaits this being who mom and dad hope can make it on its own. Tonight, I stop to see the number one son and he tells me he is hungry. I say,” How about a pizza or a hoagie to hold you over until after work?” He says,” Great” in a very teen like vernacular which I will not expose. He says,” I only have a one hundred dollar bill so you will have to pay for it.” I pull out my last 20 and buy the food and am down to 10 bucks. What is wrong with this picture? I laugh and say to myself,” he has a 100 and I have 10 bucks and am out a pizza and a root beer.” That is life with the being we all know and love……….the teenager. Oh he is polite and shakes hands, and charms his teachers, and the ladies, and enjoys his life. But we see the beast waking up in the morning, grumpy, until he is fed and comes alive in the living room. We see the teenager at his best and at his worst, but the unconditional love of this being is always present even in the most heated battles of mom and dad versus sonny boy. A boring existence? I think not. It is always adventurous to stay one step ahead of the cunning beast until the day when we release him to mid America and the campus of Ohio U in Athens. We then will see the real growth, education, and maturity that awaits us when he returns and we say……” what happened to that young boy, who turned into the teenager, and is now…… a man?” Life moves on and the adventure continues. My friend from out west always told me,” Pat- it gets better and better every day.” His son is now married, with his own son and another child on the way. ” It only gets better.” The teen years were a challenge but again, adventure is in the eye of the beholder. Most of you had that adventure and those who have not, your time is coming with the texting, burping,flattulating, “I got this covered” species we know and love as…………the teenager. Hey Jack- clean up that room and put those clothes away will ya?” Thanks for reading.