Day 31 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

Choose Your Own Adventure…Toward Health

Today was my good friend’s birthday. My group of friends and I make a conscious effort to try new activities, go new places, and experience new adventures, especially when we have something to celebrate. So, for birthdays, holiday weekends, or just any old average day, we have collectively taken up rock climbing, snowshoeing, run groups, and now, hiking at a new location. We are all active, so it is very easy to get buy-in when one of us wants to try something new. And of course, today was no exception.

The place we went was beyond words…but, I’ll give you some anyway. We were surrounded by greenery that could have been in a movie. As we hiked up the seemingly endless stairs, we could see and hear the creek flowing down the side of the mountain, right next to the steps. At one point, the water spilled onto the stairway, creating an almost fountain-like effect. Once we made our way up to the hiking path, we turned the corner of one of the hillsides and immediately came face to face with creation so amazing we had to stop and take it in. Peaks and valleys, unbounded territory, and out further, what looked like sky was actually the ocean. None of us cared that we slopped through mud, getting our shoes and pants dirty. Nobody cared that we were hot and then cold, lost and then found. We collectively had an adventure. And as I was making the trek, I couldn’t help but think about all the health that I was taking in: from the scenery to the fresh air to the company, I was inundated with health. But I also discovered a little Unexpected Health as well…the health we find in exploration.

When we push ourselves out of our comfort zones and explore new places, new experiences, new food, we are actually reversing the aging process. Now I know I have talked about how getting older is unexpectedly healthy, and it is. But reversing some of the negatives associated with getting older is also healthy. When we age (I am making a generalization here), we tend to gravitate toward consistency. I notice older people like to eat at the same time; have their get-togethers on the same days; even talk about the same topics. There is great ease in routine; in knowing. But when we branch out of our tree, we are reminded of all the beauty we are missing, and discovering beauty in life is healthy.

Routine is not a bad thing; in fact, I think we all do much better if we have it. But there is a difference between having routine in our daily lives and trapping ourselves in sameness. It is productive to schedule time in our days…that gives us direction. But to eat at the same restaurants, go to the same places, and even be with the same people limits our world to the ‘knowns.’ I propose we challenge ourselves to the ‘unknowns.’ As I discovered today, my ‘unknown’ turned out to be one of the most gratifying–most health-filling–experience I have had in nature. So the next time you have the choice of a restaurant, an activity, even a destination, choose an unknown. You never know what beauty will be around the next bend. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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