Almost. There are a lot of things I almost do. Like summit mountains or hold my breath for a minute.
Complete a 5k or perhaps ride my bike across the country. Both things I thought sounded cool and very unrealistic for a highly un-athletic gal like me. It took a few moments over the last few months for me to decide I was tired of all the almost’s in my life.
I’m sitting on a park bench as the sunsets slowly behind Lake Harriet, the bandshell is buzzing with music and ten year olds are dancing in front of hundreds of spectators. At twenty-six, just shy of twenty-seven, I know there is no way in hell I would be up there swaying my hips like those children.
Too much dignity is what I tell myself. But I think it’s also conditioning on what is acceptable as an adult. Swaying my hips and dancing alone in front of a crowd feels wrong. In a wave of crippling envy I wish I was ten again, I might even settle for twelve. A pure age of hopes and everything tangible being so far away as to not quite matter.
Everything tangible I was taught to want — such as careers and marriage and husbands and babies.
Marriage was a day dream when I was a kid, husband was a special word with a blank face and a lot of potential. Career goals were lofty and imaginable, possible and endless. Boys were cute and sweet, there were no drunken headaches or mistakes, ice cream was heaven not a dietary restriction, babies were for sitting.
Not anymore, working in a retail store, no matter how incredible a job is still a subtle let down to those who thought you would ‘go somewhere’, more and more grandmas are patting my arm and telling me i’ll find a man someday, and that marriage will sneak up on me when I least expect it.
Like I said there are a lot of thing’s I’ve almost done but none of the supposedly normal things adults expect you to do.
A few months ago I went to Lake Superior with a few adult-ish friends, time stopped for a few days. We set up tents and snapped pictures of the sun taking a glorious dip into the lake. We told poop stories and rode our bikes up down the shoreline, we ate peanut butter by the spoonful and roasted marshmallows over an expertly constructed camp fire. All of it was beauty and laughter and adults losing themselves in the youthfulness of nature.
My three friends have participated in bike tours across the country multiple times with Venture Expeditions. I applied for a cycling tour with the organization years ago but chickened out, thinking I would never be able to bike 900 miles or raise thousands of dollars. (Another one of those almost stories I had to tell.)
We sat drinking beers in a wood paneled tavern when one of them asked me, “Krisi, why haven’t you done a Venture tour?” To which I responded, “because I don’t fit in with that kind of thing anymore.”
Venture Expeditions is a Christian based organization which basically means they’re underlying purpose stems from God. The problem as I explained to my friends, is on some days God is nothing more to me than an inner cheerleading voice, on other days God is a mysterious bonding agent for all the stories of all the people. God is tangible and capable today and tomorrow God is the tool I/we use to manipulate our situations.
How could I, a skeptic of Christianity, especially organized Christianity actually participate in a bike tour centered around a cause for Christ? I leaned back in our wood paneled booth, sipped my lager and shrugged my shoulders with resignation.
I was certain my friends would balk at my uncertainty, but they didn’t. The sentiment of their words following my explanation left me with a feeling of acceptance and empowerment, even though I can’t fully recount their words.
My mom likes to say, “we don’t always remember what people say but we do remember how they made us feel.”
And I felt safe with my friends in the midst of my unbelief.
The next day we mounted our bikes and road the farthest distance of my life, (Forty miles) down the coast of Lake Superior, past a light house and to a water fall. The three of them were far more prepared for the excursion, I was coming off a winter of semi-hibernation and beer and tater tot gorging.
My bike was creaking on our long ride and stuck in a gear not friendly with big hills, it took all of my energy to keep moving forward.
It would have been easy for all of my friends to zoom away and meet me at the end, but Jessica, a seasoned traveler and an outdoor enthusiast stuck with me, pedal pump for pedal pump. She told me stories from her world travel, dozens of them, and I laughed between my wheezes.
It was a hard but good ride for me. We ended our trip with pie and coffee and hard laughs.
Jess commented on our way home that she didn’t feel like an adult and I agreed with her, maybe I am more of a twelve year old than I think. Maybe the seemingly far off adventures are closer than I originally thought.
Not typical and expected adventures like the above mentioned marriage and career. But different adventures that suit me for who I am in this moment of my life. Biking with my friends was the most spiritual thing I have done in years, it made me feel like I was apart of something bigger than myself.
Which is the main reason I have decided to sign-up for another Venture tour. This time 450 miles down the west coast from Seattle to Portland.
One part of being a kid I am ready to grow out of is all of the almost’s, I want to join a story that stretches beyond my daily life and reaches out to others, like those the ride supports with International Justice Mission.
This is the part where I tell you I am raising over $1000 for IJM, personally I am committing to give $1000. I want to invite my friends and family to be apart of the story with me.
Will you join me?
Visit my Venture page if you want to donate to my trip : Krisi’s Venture Tour