As I consider my past blog posts, I’m forced to recognize that a good portion of them find their humor in my personal foibles. I highlight my failures as often (or more often) than my victories. And I share the lessons learned… not in the hope that my readers will feel pity for the sometimes humiliating or outlandish predicaments in which I find myself, but rather in the anticipation that perhaps… just perhaps… they might relate.
Why take this approach? Quite simply: because it works. Despite my lifelong dream of growing up to be a superhero, I am quite aware that deep down where it matters most, I’m just an ordinary person living what, in many cases, is really just an ordinary life.
While grand adventures do occasionally come my way, the true adventures in my world aren’t to be had in exotic places or in the presence of famous people. They are the result of experimentation and a willingness to try almost anything (with the notable exceptions of drugs and just about anything considered to be illegal) at least once. They occur when I least expect them and often arise from the most innocent of circumstances. And they lay claim to my heart not because of the innate quality of the adventures, themselves, but because of the qualities they reveal in me.
Adventure, you see, is very much a matter of perspective. It is not about a specific activity or location. It isn’t about untold bravery or life-altering acts of sacrifice. Instead, it’s about the subtle art of finding the quality of the hero both in others and ourselves. The true mark of a hero isn’t invulnerability to pain or failure, but an ability to face the things we fear with courage and integrity. It’s about making a difference in the lives of others. And about allowing them to make a difference in ours.
In reality, most of us will never change the world. Our names won’t go down in history and few may ever remember that we lived at all. But while we may not be heroes to many, each of us has the opportunity to be a hero to few. One hug, one phone call, one shoulder to cry on, one friend to laugh with, one set of ears to listen, one set of eyes to see. One life can make a difference… and often does. It is in this relationship of shared humanity that the true adventures take place: as we play the role of hero to others and allow them to be heroes to us.
So to everyone who has ever lived an ordinary life – here’s to you. Here’s to your victories and your failures, your trials, your struggles, your smiles and warm hugs. Here’s to the opportunities you’ve missed and the ones you’ll soon embrace. Here’s your ability to encourage and motivate and to your power to make a difference. Here’s to the adventure… and to the hero who lives within us all. Here’s to everyone who ever wanted to save the world. And to everyone who in the course of their small and ordinary lives actually is.