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A Dash of Flavor

If most of life is lived in a steady state of routine, we have the opportunity to add micro-bursts of exceptional living now and then to spice up this dish. Some people take that opportunity whenever a free moment comes along, some embrace routine for their entire journey. Bursts of unique experiences can be quite thrilling. Conversely, routine can be quite fulfilling. Who are we to judge which is best? Maybe the answer is a wee bit of both.

A couple of senior sisters I know recently took an epic roadtrip from New England to Florida, stopping at bucket list historic sites along the way. These were places they’d always wanted to visit, but kept putting off to prioritize the routine things that came up in their lives. This trip was a burst of adventure that they’ll talk about for years to come. I hope they’re already planning their next adventure.

I’ve come to terms with not selling everything and sailing around the world. Simply put, I have a lot to do right here and now that compels me to embrace some level of routine that reinforces the productive, creative soul I’ve decided to be. That doesn’t mean I’ve accepted blandness in my life diet. Every day offers the opportunity for more flavor than we’d otherwise consider. Add a dash.

The rower in me knows how this goes. Most of the race is intense steady state, with a few bursts of all-out effort to pull ahead. You don’t win the race rowing steady state the entire way, nor can you sustain all-out effort for 2000 meters. You must be strategic in where you use your energy, ensuring that you don’t run out of gas before the finish (“fly and die”), while also reaching the end with an empty tank (thus, doing your best). A productive life has similar cadence.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle (or was it Will Durant?)

Surely, we can do more than we believe is possible in a day, let alone a lifetime. Another lesson from rowing was to just focus on the next stroke, and then the one after that. Dwelling on what is sustainable is a sure way of talking yourself out of doing anything at all. Still, we must use our power budget wisely. Micro-bursts of activity teach us what is possible, while offering a light at the end of the tunnel. Knowing we only have this brief time to do things, why not maximize the moment?

We can’t have it all, but we can have a lot more than we give ourselves permission to go after in life. Spice up life with a burst of adventure now and then, for it’s good for the soul. It also informs us of what’s possible. Too much spice can ruin a dish, but not enough and it’s bland. There’s that line between chaos and order again, showing us that balance is the key. Just don’t confuse balance with timidity. Be bold.

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One Comment

  1. This article is a great reminder that life is all about balance between routine and adventure. It’s okay to embrace a certain routine but we should also add micro-bursts of adventure to live life fully. The author’s personal experience and analogy to rowing make it an interesting read.
    Michael Taylor

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