Here’s the thing about adventures.

When you’re a kid you really want to have one. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to carry a fire-blackened machete into the woods and attack trees all day long. Or try to speak with spirits. Travel hill dale with your wolf dog, whome you’ll never forget. And see everything – everything – with a magical eye that on many counts never quite goes away. Because you’ve read LOTR a million times, your favorite book is The Sword of Calandra, and really you just really really want to be zapped to another world to be with Merry and Pippin. Please Gandalf, where are you??

The reality of it is that if you get hit with even a small adventure, you’re a kid. It’s not something you can walk away from unchanged. Either you’re devastated, or you grow up too fast. And if you’re strong enough to grow up it’s because you have to, in order to deal with things.  World War II orphans knew that.

Because the thing about an adventure is they’re sparked by catalysts. The most common catalyst is tragedy. Frodo had to destroy that ring, and on his way out everything burned down around his ears. King Arthur faced being hidden away else he’d be killed, and then he pulled this old sword stuck in a rock someplace and spent most of his life dealing with war. I’m too lazy to think of a third example, although the guidelines to writing suggest I should.

Somehow adults have adventures all of the time. They get kidnapped, go to war, undertake quests, and even make a difference whether they know it or not. They either survive the adventure or it kills them on some frozen Everest mountaintop due to poor planning or ignorant wanderings. They come back from the desert having lost a hundred pounds to be praised a prophet, or we hear the cannibalistic tragedy on the news. Adventures don’t always have happy endings.

But in order to have one you have to be willing to take the risk. That’s another thing about adventures you have to realize. You can try to stay a kid forever, dreaming away and playing video games where you pretend to save the world using a controller and someone else’s script, or you can grow up, step out your front door, and find something that moves your world.

This is because in order to have the kinds of adventures kids want, you have to have the mindset it takes not only to undertake them and see them through… but to survive them.

If you want to keep having dreams of flying, quests and magic stay a kid. Dream your dreams. Grow old inside your untouched shell.

Or. You can learn to fly. Take up a real quest and study magic. Live your dreams. Grow old not only understanding the magic you were awed by as a child, but living it.

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