Last week I paused for a few minutes on the deck of the DU library to watch as a short, stout undergrad took a few calculated steps, placed two hands on the railing and launched himself over the edge of 15 ledge. He paused gracefully in the air, before hitting the grass rolling for a brief moment then springing into a controlled saunter. It was Parkour and it was cool.
But all I could sit and think was, no matter how skilled at tumbling he may be, jumping off a 15 foot ledge is going to take its toll. Maybe not today or tomorrow but someday that guy is going to take a step and his knee isn't going to want to support him. He's going to be skiing a choppy run in the back bowls and his spine isn't going to take the hits like they used to.
The last few weeks I've had to pay the piper myself. Struggling through knee pain caused by years of strange, asymmetrical tensions of snowboard racing. Recovering from the inevitable road rash that results from an unexpected but overdue crash. I expect to take a dive every so often racing but I suppose I had a run-in with a car coming after years of safe and uneventful roads.
And of course, how can I forget the long overdue payment for my 4-months abroad? A mysterious stomach ailment that, despite a barrage of drugs, just doesn't want to let go of my large intestine. Chipping away at my resolve to carry on one small twinge of pain at a time.
Taken together the consequences can subsume the adventures. The road starts to look weary and the comfort of home all to inviting. But the trick of it all is to acknowledge the pain, accept the amount of risk you are willing to take and discard the worst parts soon after they pass.
Build a deep appreciation for the best parts of the journey.
Let those parts drive the dream of the next big adventure.
Set the odds in your favor.
Scheme to keep going forever
Be prepared just in case you can't.
Roll the dice.
See where you land.
If it's on your ass, get up, brush off, and keep moving forward.