Friday, May 16, 2008


eHarmony, with its "guided communication" option, provides all sorts of low-commitment, pre-defined ways to interact in order to shepherd its users through the initial "getting-to-know-you" stage.

The first stage involves multiple choice questions and answers. A long list of possible questions are provided and the "questioner" can pick 5 from that list to forward along to his/her "match."

One of those questions is the following:

Your idea of adventure is:

A) whitewater rafting
B) karaoke singing
C) trying a different route to work
D) ordering a dish you've never tried before
E) *write in own answer*

I understand the intent behind this question, and I understand what the different answers *might* reveal about a person. And while "adventure" can be infused into any activity, no matter how small or trivial, the full concept and value of adventure is so big and frightening and compelling and fierce that I dislike seeing it trivialized.

Being adventurous is different from being curious or flexible and open to change. Curiosity and flexibility are highly important and attractive traits, and are important elements of (or even prerequisites for) being adventurous, but they should not be viewed as equivalent to it.

Adventure involves risk; it invites change.

True adventure, requires daring.

That can be expressed in a myriad of ways: starting a relationship; trying one more time, after a history of failure, to learn something new; ending a relationship; leaving behind a familiar life to explore the unknown; staying in a life and making it your own...

I had a conversation last night about the desire to have a completely new start, to have an ADVENTURE.

It is a topic of conversation near and dear to me.

Conventional wisdom makes a distinction between running AWAY FROM and running TO different situations, and I "get" that there might be a sub-sect of people who carry around their unhappiness and discontent so much so that they can never escape it, so that a change in venue or environment can't change their fundamental outlook on life.

I've already quoted Eudora Welty in a previous post: "...the most serious daring starts from within." Adventure doesn't necessarily involve picking up and leaving for someplace new. It can be embodied in firmly digging into an existing life.

But the "high" in going someplace new is addictive.

So what happens when you always have one foot out the door, always carrying around the knowledge that any day now, you could LEAVE?

I suppose that's the opposite of adventure. Because risk and daring must be accompanied by something else: the commitment to follow through. Otherwise, "adventure" does indeed become diminished to little more than ordering something new off the menu.

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