Adventures don’t have to be big and bold. Adventures come in many sizes and forms and help us feel young again. I like taking mini adventures that sometimes aren’t planned but thrust on you like when you are riding your bike in the afternoon and the summer rains make an unexpected appearance.
One’s initial thought might be, Oh, crap, I have to find shelter. How inconvenient. What if my iPhone and ear buds get wet? But then you remember the reusable shopping bag in your bike basket which can easily shelter the electronics. Once that concern is mitigated, you can reframe the weather blip into a mini adventure (provided it’s not thundering and lightning as is typical on Florida summer days).
You quickly realize the rain and overcast sky are a welcome relief from the 98-degree scorching temperatures. And, better yet, the rain sent fellow riders and walkers scurrying for shelter leaving the bike path all to yourself.
Okay, getting caught in the rain constitutes a mini adventure, but I did enjoy a different sort of mini adventure recently at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. The event was billed as a cultural collaboration between the Ukrainian Ballet, the Orlando Philharmonic, Bach Festival Choir, and Opera Orlando to raise funds for Ukraine. The event raised more than $500,000.
I knew going in that there were all kinds of sponsors of the event:
I was at the “buy a single ticket for $100.00 level.” While I was very happy to support this Ukrainian humanitarian effort, albeit at a significantly lower level, my primary impetus for attending was to hear the Bach Festival Choir. My husband is a member of the choir, and I wanted to support him.
Left-over sprinkles from an earlier rainstorm lingered at the 5:30 hour when my tuxedo clad husband was due to report backstage at Steinmetz Hall. “I’ll get there early and drop you off,” I suggested. “Then you will be able to see our pre-concert performance during the silent auction,” Jim suggested.
Assuming I was a good two hours early for the ballet performance, I was surprised to see luxury car after luxury car deposit elegantly attired women and men at the entrance to the center.
The crowd (including me) was herded inside to a check-in line where concert goers were given yellow lanyards with VIP credentials. “I don’t think my name will be on this list,” I quietly advised the lady with the clipboard when I finally reached the front of the line. “Well, if you aren’t on the list, you can’t go upstairs.”
Apparently, “upstairs” meant a cocktail and hors devours reception for sponsors where they would be serenaded by the Bach Choir. What am I going to do for two hours? I wailed to myself, simultaneously cursing my husband for failing to provide me with the requisite details for the evening.
I got pretty chummy with the staff at the center as I aimlessly wandered around the lobby. It dawned on me how invisible the ushers, bartenders, and security guards are as fancy frocks rush past them en route to the bar, bathroom, or seats.
I was actually kind of glad that my experience on the periphery that evening increased my awareness of these unsung employees. “Why don’t you just get on that elevator and go up and see if they’ll let you hear the music,” one of those unsung staff members urged. That little push was all I needed to insinuate myself into a cluster of people awaiting the elevator.
“You don’t have a lanyard,” a guard accused as I exited the elevator. “I promise I’m not going to drink anything or eat the appetizers. I just want to see the choir perform.” “Ask that guy over there,” she directed pointing to a man wearing an official looking orange vest guarding the entrance to the DeVos Family room.
My new usher/guard friend could not have been kinder and allowed me to crash the party. Still very much aware that I lacked the requisite yellow lanyard, I lurked in margins of the room listening to the choir sing Prayer for Ukraine. Clanking silverware and the clamor of conversations competed for attention with their beautiful voices.
How tough it must be for performers in restaurants or night clubs trying to entertain people who seem more interested in baked ziti and stuffed mushrooms. Could the buffet food really be that good to justify ignoring the talent in front of them? My mini adventure offered me yet another revelation as I realized I’ve done the same thing in social settings.
“Your dress is beautiful,” I heard a voice say. I turned to find a young, handsome, well-dressed man looking at me! “I saw you threading your way through the crowd.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was trying desperately to avoid being noticed and the opposite had happened – complete with a compliment. “You have made my year,” I replied wanting to hug him.
The event was a feast for the eye and the ear. The music was lovely as were the costumes. This was my favorite couple who had recently moved to Florida from Hawaii.
Due to the tardiness of my purchase, I sat in the nose-bleed section of Steinmetz Hall on the fourth tier.
It did not matter. This architecturally stunning performance hall was designed to be acoustically perfect, and I enjoyed every pirouette and orchestral note.
I enjoyed the many gifts of this date night with myself. It’s recommended, at least on occasion, that a mini adventure be a solo affair. Alone, we can luxuriate in the freedom to make our own choices. One moment dictates the next.
Even our inner voices go silent during these escapades, ceasing their judgements for a bit. These “spaces” enable us to be more observant and mindful, more present, even to the point of noticing those on the margins who work hard to make our experiences pleasurable, and at whom we barely cast a glance.
What mini adventure you have taken recently? How did it impact the way you felt about yourself at the time? Do you think mini adventures should be solo experiences?