“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” has been taught to children for generations. If only it were true. Words do hurt, but they can also inspire, motivate end enthuse people, provided they are used correctly…
In the 21st century we use words in many ways, via many mediums. Gone are the days where the printing press or the orator held sway. We can now read and listen via a host of digital devices at the touch of a button, as and when suits. The weight of information available can hit you like assault with a deadly weapon, and everyone wants you to read what they write. Fashions change, but we are quite literally overdoing the passion we display in our awesome, unique, amazing, absolutely incredible, unbelievably totally transparent and robust delivery of our literal honesty. Did any of that make sense..? Most of the words used in that sentence are classed as heavily overused in the English language.
A word which has crept into overuse in the outdoor world is Adventure. The Oxford English Dictionary describes an Adventure as an unusual, exciting or daring experience, excitement associated with danger or the taking of risks, or a reckless or potentially hazardous action or enterprise. Once we went out climbing, riding or cycling, but now we have adventure inserted before almost every activity. The internet is full of sites and publications selling adventure, whether on a motorcycle, trekking through the jungle or climbing a mountain, but are we pushing it a little too far..? Whatever happened to the days where we went for a bike ride, or a climb..? Were they not adventures anyway..? Do we really need to spell them out..?
I think the 21st century life has something to answer for this situation. Many people work in professions which are sedentary, repetitive and feel without end. Staff engagement is at an all-time low, so are people searching for something to enhance their lives..? Is a little excitement what they crave..? Do they want to come home from holiday boasting that they’ve had an adventure..? Advertising which dazzles, promising great adventures fills many of the outdoor magazines and much more. Cars have got to be cooler, faster, more technical and more environmental, rather than ‘a passenger vehicle designed for for operation on ordinary roads and typically having four wheels and a gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine’.
I feel that Social Networking aggravates the situation as people post plethora’s of voyeuristic images in the public domain. Whilst I agree some are funny, some heart-breaking and some reflective, do we don’t need 50 of them for every days holiday.
Perhaps I sound like a middle-aged grump, but where is it all going to end..?
In 2014 I almost burned my soul into the ground. It wasn’t until later in the year that the fact finally hit me, and to this day I’m still fighting to control my inner accelerator pedal. The compulsion to do more, travel more and experience more is a huge factor in my mind. I’m fortunate enough to have seen some interesting places, met wonderful people and filled my mind with experiences that have made my life experience better, but where do I stop..? Should I stop..? Even my aging, grey haired soul is affected by modern times. What we need is balance, and moreover a good dose of reality. We shouldn’t have to scream from the hilltops about our lives, our holidays or our pastimes, beating the word adventure from our chests. Many could learn a much more useful word – Decorum.
The problem is that Decorum doesn’t sell. Politeness gets you nowhere. A big sign flashing ‘Adventure’ does…