High adventure was on my young index of dreams. As it turns out, my adventures have been mild ones. I never did become an explorer, sailor, naturalist, anthropologist, spelunker, diver, paleontologist, prospector, or performer. As a young boy I avidly read about the adventures of men like Thor Heyerdahl and William Beebe. Beebe was an ornithologist, explorer, and author. He was an early ecologist. He made a record-breaking dive in a bathysphere to a depth of 3,028 ft in 1934. He lived the adventures of my dreams.
Recently, I ran across a piece written by him in his old age. It’s good advice for all adventurers, young and old.
What I Would Do
If I were as young in years again as I still am inside,
I should make me a list of a few things to do before I die:
To go at least once clear around this jolly world.
To live with savages and in jungles now and then
and learn how splendid they are.
To ride and read and shoot and play and study and think
and be silent with such enthusiasm that every moment
of unnecessary sleep would be a crime.
To live so fully that most people would seem dead on their feet.
To own a magnificent telescope and by frequent use never
to forget the humor of my size and place and ambitions in the universe.
Finally, do the things all over again, for I have
done them and am still at it, and I know.
For just this once I have broken my motto of “Don’t tell.”
And now forget everything that I have said and live your own life.
As it turns out, I have lived my own life. As a 25 year-old missionary and married with children, I concentrated on being a good husband, father and evangelist but never stopped dreaming. Those later dreams were milder ones: farmer, woodcarver (a skilled one), preacher (an effective one), teacher (a beneficial one) and writer (a successful one). In small, insignificant ways I have dabbled in the later dreams and found much satisfaction.
I find I no longer aspire to fame or celebrity status — having seen the emptiness of those pursuits. Besides that, I’m getting a bit “long in the tooth,” whatever that means.
Aside from some major life challenges, I am satisfied with my little shop where I carve wood, my vegetable garden (the farming part) teaching and mentoring aspiring missionaries, working with ministry training schools in the South Pacific (and soon, hopefully Asia), and writing blogs and books. The adventure continues.