There are a group of people who plan to start reading The Hobbit today as part of the Nammynools Book Club. You can join us if you'd like. The book is great fun.
One of the first questions that comes up when reading about Bilbo Baggins is that of adventuring. Tolkien says that the Baggins' were respectable not only because they were rich, but because they weren't the adventuring type of hobbits. Gandalf thrust the adventure of a lifetime on the poor hobbit. Bilbo wasn't ready for it, he hadn't prepared for it, in fact he was a little upset by the whole thing.
I began looking back over my life and thinking about some of the adventures I've been on. Honestly, even though I haven't done crazy things like scale Mount Everest or swim the English Channel, I've had some pretty incredible adventures.
In another conversation, a friend asked me about the difference between adventuresome and adventurous. They are synonyms, but most people understand that there is risk involved and sometimes even danger. Merriam-Webster says that adventuresome entails more danger, others believe that adventurous is the more dangerous word. Whatever the reality is, risk and a hint of danger go along with adventure.
My father believed in adventures. He took his youth groups on adventure trips, sometimes on week-long canoe trips through the Canadian and Minnesota lakes, portaging, paddling and camping our way through beautiful scenery. He took a few canoe trips on white water rivers. He took adults on fly-in fishing trips. He took many, many groups of people to Kentucky and Tennessee on work camps to live in strange places for a week while helping people rebuild their homes. Building our cabin was an adventure for he and mom ... and for the three of us kids. Starting a printing business was an adventure for us. Maintaining it after Mom died continued the adventure.
It never occurred to me that going to college was an adventure because it was something everyone expected me to do. But, as I look back on it, that's exactly what it was. I was faced with the unknown at every turn. Some of it was awful, some of it was extraordinary, much of it was wonderful. I started another adventure a few years ago when I began the process of getting my Master's Degree and considered a life that was different from what everyone expected from me.
Bilbo was respectable. He liked the ease of his life. He liked not drawing attention to himself. He liked waking up every morning, knowing exactly what was going to happen that day. While I fully agree that type of life makes things infinitely easier, I believe it makes things that much more boring as well. While I may never desire to fall out of airplanes strapped to a big piece of nylon or dive the depths of the ocean, I do enjoy waking up in the morning knowing that something new might come my way.
A friend decided she wanted to live the rest of her life as an author, rather than as a public relations executive at a small college. She put everything on the line; quit her job, maxed out her credit cards and allowed a publishing company to critique the work that was closest to her heart. Another friend knew she wanted nothing more than to teach children. She started a second degree so she could do that. In her mid-40s, everything changed. Her adventure had begun. Yet another friend knew that music and children would somehow combine to fulfill her life. The first part of her adventure took her to Africa.
We can sit in our hobbit hole, hoping for nothing greater than a beautiful day outside or we can ...
What about you? Are you ready for adventure?