When I look down at my left hand while typing I can still see the scar on my pointer finger from when I was 8 years old and made a mistake while whittling. Oddly I’ve become fond of the scar. Not only does it represent a memory from my childhood, during a particularly happy time, but it is also a constant reminder to try something new.
As we grow older we tend to become more risk adverse. Stop and think about it for a moment. When you were 8 years old every tree was a climbing challenge, every hill waited to be conquered. If you fell and scraped a knee or got a cut you’d get some extra attention from a parent, probably something sweet, and move on to the next adventure. Somewhere along the timeline from childhood naiveté to hyper responsible adulthood we lose that sense of adventure and risk.
Don’t get me wrong we still take risks, driving in rush-hour traffic is a greater risk than any tree we ascended as a child, however that sense of adventure and discovery leaves the majority of us. For me that is a sad reality and I believe the world is poorer for it.
There was a time not that long ago (in the history of humanity) that we as a species would sail over the horizon with no idea what was on the other side. We would trek through the wilderness or attempt an expedition to the South Pole because they were there and were challenges that needed to be overcome. I still have hope that this sense of adventure and achievement can be reborn from embers. When I read the latest news coming from Elon Musk about his ambitious plan to colonize the solar system those embers of hope are rekindled.
So what can we do today? Take a risk, go somewhere new, try a new type of food you never have before, talk to a stranger, and most of all, climb a tree. Your inner child will thank you.