Diana and I were driving home this afternoon, when something brought us back to our first overnight trip together, down to the tennis venue in Mason to watch some AVP outdoor volleyball action. Diana said it seemed like a lifetime ago, but it was actually less than six years ago. It was only a few weeks later that we went to Holiday World for the first time. Two months later, our first Orlando trip. How could a time period of less than six years seem so long ago?
Adventures. Lots and lots of adventures. I've come to the sensible realization that the thing that makes life better is not stuff. I mean, I've known this for a long time, but passing on stuff to do stuff is what makes life awesome. Last year we even made a formal commitment that we would spend less on gifts at holidays and birthdays and instead devote discretionary spending to travel. Six years feels longer than it is because of all the stuff that we did between then and now.
If I'm really looking back at life, the clue that this arrangement worked came pretty early. My family was never well-to-do when I was growing up, but I still managed to get a lot of the toys that I wanted as gifts. The toys might have made me happy, but it was the relatively inexpensive adventures we had on camping trips that made life happy and memorable.
Mix people into the adventures, and things become even more awesome. When my first marriage was clearly not going to make the comeback that I hoped for, I thought I would run from my troubles by traveling. I met my best friend and her roommate down in Florida that spring, and it was an amazing time. A few months later I had a few dates with Catherine, and figured, what the hell, I'm going to take her with me to Las Vegas. It was one of the best vacations I ever had at the time. Then came the trips with Diana that I mentioned. There have also been a series of meet-up trips with some of my remote friends who live several states away, and those were all excellent. Adventures with people you love to be around are even more awesome.
This is not an issue around having a lot of money, it's an issue around prioritization. You don't need to be swimming in cash to have adventures, you just need to prioritize for them. Anyone who has ever gone to college knows this. One of my friends did the backpack-across-Europe thing as a poor college student, for example. You can set priorities. You don't need to spend all of your money on twice the house you need, or expensive cars, or other shit that just doesn't count for anything in the grand scheme of life.
One thing is for certain... I don't want the adventures to end. Simon has had countless adventures at the ripe old age of 3. He's having an epic summer, in fact. I am, too. This is how we choose to roll.