We were a few glasses in at Seamstress, a cocktail bar in NYC. We sat and listened to the owner tell tales of Australia and New York City and food and wine. Then he asked a question that sparked an interesting conversation, “If you could go back to one hour of your life to observe, what hour would it be?”
I didn’t have an answer that night (maybe it was the wine), but I’ve thought about the question since. I’ve thought through memorable moments and really fun nights and family memories.
It wasn’t until last week that I settled on a memory. So Josh, here’s your answer:
My grandparents had this house growing up. It was a few blocks away from the beach in Charlestown, RI. We endearingly called it “The Cozy.” It was built on love and family and fireflies that lit up the yard at night. It always smelled like Grammy’s Chicken Soup and there was perpetually sand on the floor…and in the sheets.
Down the street, there was this huge salt-water pond. My grandpa had a little motorboat and a dock with a crab trap attached to the side.
I spent summers and weekends at the Cozy and fell deeply in love with the ocean. My grandpa and I would spend hours combing the beach for seaglass and exploring the salt water pond. We named all of the “islands” in the pond. Things like “Two Bucket Island” to signify the time we caught four horseshoe crabs and needed two buckets to get them home. And “Slip-and-Slide” because when the tide was just right, you could slide across the mud with your feet.
This was an hour I would go back to. I would go back to watching 8 year old Ali explore and adventure and find her own way. I would watch the switch between when Grandpa was the leader to when Ali started pushing the adventure forward. I would watch the moment 8 year old Ali caught a lobster with a net and gleefully screamed out to all the surrounding fisherman who didn’t believe her.
I would watch this hour because I would love to see myself 20 years ago, before heartbreak and perspective and realism. Before I started thinking “it’s kind of dumb to name islands” or “I don’t want to walk in the pond, what if a crab pinches me?”
Deep down I think we all have the childhood Lewis and Clark spirit, craving adventure and new things. Deep down I think our imaginations are still alive, we just usually forget to let them out. Or we listen to voices of fear or judgment or cynicism. Or we don’t create spaces to explore, adventure, or create.
For us to continue growing, we need these spaces in our lives. In Rising Strong, Brene Brown says, “Creativity embeds knowledge so that it can become practice. We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts, through our hands.”
Adventure can look a little bit different as an adult. It can look like letting your guard down to love or taking a painting class. It can look like moving to a new city or traveling somewhere you’ve never been or hosting events for your friends.
I like to choose all of the above. If you don’t have a creative outlet, I challenge you to find one. Try journaling your thoughts, playing music, building something, or even taking a road trip this weekend. Find a way to implement adventure and creativity into your life. It makes life more fun, it helps you self-reflect, and it keeps your childlike adventurous spirit alive.