- Mental Health
Events and Adventures
Events and adventures. Isn't there a dating group named that now? Maybe they would agree with my grandmother's philosophy. She's always been a stickler for details. Maybe it come from being a military wife and mother, maybe from living through the Depression as a child, but everything had to be categorized. Black and white, with no room for grey.
This philosophy extended to all parts of life, even the simplest things like going to the grocery store or making breakfast. If something happened along the way, it became an anecdote to relate to others later on, no matter if it was good or bad. It happened, and it was part of the day, so it got shared when people asked how things were going.
My grandmother classified these shared things into two categories: events and adventures.
Events were planned things throughout the day, month, or year. Birthdays, other holidays, meetings, appointments, and routines like going to school or work. Anything that happened on a regular basis was an event. These followed a set pattern, so were easy to identify and classify. Back to the black and white philosophy.
Growing up, my "events" were going to school, being at school, coming home or to daycare, and going to sleep. My grandmother's "events" were getting up, fixing breakfast, reading the newspaper and having coffee at the dining room table, fixing lunch, watching me if she was taking care of me that day, fixing dinner, watching tv, and going to sleep. Sometimes there was a trip to the grocery store, hair salon, lunch with friends, etc.
Adventures were any spontaneous happening. They could occur during an "event", or just throughout the day in unplanned time. They were the "grey" in the black and white thinking. Classifying them as adventures made them into an acceptable category for my grandmother.
Some adventures that I remember were berries dropping on the kitchen floor in the middle of making tarts, Grandpa getting the wrong items on the shopping list, watching the squirrels in the cherry tree from the Nothing window, and going outside on the deck to watch a particularly beautiful sunset.
If Grandma and I were out shopping (event) and saw one of her friends, meeting the friend would be an adventure. One time, Grandma got "bumped" by a car during a trip to the grocery store. The grocery store trip was an event, but when she came home she walked in the door and said, "I had an adventure just now." Everyone stopped to listen to her story.
Classifying things as events and adventures would get silly at times, because some days consisted of more adventures than events. Spontaneous phone calls, friends coming over, playing in the yard or taking a tour of the garden were all adventures. Sometimes, my mom and I would count how many of each category would happen throughout the day, then tell Grandma or just laugh at them ourselves.
As I got older, I mostly forgot about the "events and adventures" philosophy. Things became more vague. School and work became the main events, and everything else faded into the background.
Then, something happened. I started working around children again, and saw that they classified things like my grandmother did. There were things that happened routinely, like going to school or preschool and going home again, having lunch, going out for recess. There were things that happened spontaneously that were commented on and shared with classmates, then with parents when they arrived. I learned to enjoy the little adventures that came my way, watching life go by and waiting for the next surprise.
My grandmother was right: life is lived in the adventures rather than the events. Day-to-day routines are ok, but they are boring. What makes life special is the unexpected, whether it be a butterfly that flits across your path, the car that cuts you off but makes you remember to be more careful watching for others, or a co-worker's polite words. Looking back, you may not remember exactly what happened every day, but you will remember the adventures you have had throughout your life.