There will come a time where you will depend on knowledge to save your life. It may have already happened, but when you do find yourself in that labyrinth of misery and suffering, how are you going to find your way out? Are you going to pursue that ultimatum that stretches you, pushes you, forces you into challenging yourself, to push your boundaries and give you this thing called life. The wealthiest place on earth is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we find aspirations of ideas, greatness, inventions we were never ever exposed to, dreams we never pursued and hopes we never acted upon.
So I ask this; what are we all going to do with our time?
As children we spent our time exploring, playing with magic, creating and inventing. As teenagers, we spend our time fixated with social media, parties, new experiences and making decisions that impact our lives further down the track. However as we grow into adulthood when did we stop exploring, playing with magic, creating and inventing. As a fellow victim to the enemy we call ‘teenage years’ I too fell into a trap and a rut I couldn’t escape from. I stopped adventuring, delving into the unknown and grasping that magic we called ‘childhood.’
Yet I am still human. I often make mistakes, succumb to poor decision making and I fail to take responsibly for my actions. I am a teenager. But this can’t be all life has to offer? I’m young. I’m determined and I wanted more to my surroundings then failing my friends, teachers, and family over and over again. This first act of acknowledgement of what my life had become, anticipated my response to change. I wanted my focus to be on my inner happiness, my journey to self-discovery and personal growth. To do this, I moved across the country to Wanaka in hope I would settle into a better environment for my well being and dedicate my attention to my final year of high school at MAC.
Having previously completed my Duke of Edinburgh Hilary Award I had spent many years in the outdoors, attaining different skills and knowledge to equip me to survive. A small majority of my teenage years had been filled with adventure, optimism and seeking experiences only New-Zealand has on offer. At the beginning of this year, I was offered a scholarship that would change the life I knew then and there, It would alter my mind-set, my perspective, and give me an opportunity I never thought I would grasp.
I was going on the journey of a lifetime. I was going on Outward Bound.
Now, a wise Philosopher named Kurt Hahn, founded both the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Outward Bound with the intent to toughen the youth, give them the knowledge and skills to sustain a longer life, and give them GRIT. He wanted to give younger people a chance at fulfillment through a development-by-challenge philosophy emphasizing Outward Bound – in particular was about training the mind through the body.
I knew what this 21 day course entailed – a challenge of mind, body and soul. An experience so challenging I knew I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared for. The thought of spending a month in the outdoors disconnected from everyone was enough for my muscles to tighten. I was anxious. What have I done to myself? Like most teenagers I was flabbergasted, overwhelmed with mixed emotions and uncertainty. Would I would really survive this?
Yet, I was still determined. I wanted something more. I wasn’t going to stop until I reached that feeling of pure accomplishment and content that I had achieved something spectacular. I was ultimately rising up to the challenge we call ‘life.’ I was living up to expectations and proving to everyone around me that I was capable. I would physically and mentally push my boundaries. During this time leading up to Outward Bound I was battling real-life conflicts of my own. It was in this time of my own struggle, that I realized life is about overcoming your own labyrinth of suffering. There will always be people who will hurt us and let us down; they’re human too. We are all human beings bound to make mistakes and these mistakes are necessary and vital for our understanding of life. Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% of how we react to it. And I was going to dive into Outward Bound head-first and ensure I came out a better and stronger individual.
There is more in you. There is so much more to give. During Outward Bound, the instructors were constantly drilling into my mentality; The risks are only in your head, Take control of your mind, Believe you can do it, Mind over matter. These voices in the head, constantly feeding me, etching me to step one foot in front of the other.
Tramping, sailing, kayaking, running, running, running, I was constantly on the move and fighting. 5am each morning, I was the one who had to pick myself up, I had to slip into wet and cold running gear, and run. I ran until my forehead dripped in sweat, until my legs burned and my heart was drumming rapidly. I learnt a key analogy about running here at Outward Bound – that running is what makes us human. Human bodies are designed to run . We can out-run any animal long distance because of our respiratory system, joints, muscle compilation and cardiovascular system. I was a soldier in warfare – battling my own pain, hunger and lack of rest. I was made for this, and this motivated me each morning again and again. I ran and didn’t look back. I chased the dream and idea of who I was going to become, and I left behind the obstacles that hindered me from reaching my full potential.
Spending time in the beauty of New-Zealand, gave me an insight and a deeper appreciate for the kind of environment we live in. Sailing through a sun-light bay, dolphins swimming alongside the boat, the mountain ranges hugging me in a warm embrace – I was filled with satisfaction, joy and a sensation that filled my heart to the brim. I was meant to be here. The profound moment of my entire time at Outward Bound occurred during sailing. The wind had died down by about 3pm, the sun was sitting high, commencing the start of sunset. Mckenzie watch had to get home for dinner. It had been 5 days without a decent meal and all we urgently wanted was a warm-home cooked dinner. We were rowing. The only sound heard was the the splash, draw and release of eight consecutive blades all working as a watch, pushing and giving every inch of ourselves. Making it home with 2 minutes to spare for dinner, we all linked arms, with our life jackets still on – off to dinner. The pride and love we had developed for each other was incredible. We had all achieved something spectacular.
Overall, the entirety of the 21 day course, broke me mentally and physically. It tore me apart inch my inch but it reformed me as a stronger individual who was capable of anything. Outward Bound showed me how strong I really was. I have the potential to do anything. Literally. I came to realize that there is so much more out there, then being in this classroom, in this place day after day. There are so many more challenges to overcome and so much good in this world I know very little about.
So I ask you once again; what are we all going to do with our time? Are we going to grasp these opportunities to adventure and seek new experiences? Are we going to live a life less ordinary?
Because I believe each and every one of us are destined for something more, we each have the potential and aspiration to further our ideas, creations and inventions. Don’t wait around to become the victim of your failures and succumb to the idea that you will never amount to something – because we both know that’s not true.
If theres one thing I’ve taken away from my experience at Outward Bound it’s my self-belief that I can amount to something more. There is so much more inside us to give and I urge you all to challenge yourself and keep attaining knowledge because you never know whos life you may save with that.
At the end of the day, we are still breathing, heart still beating, forehead sweating, eyes welling with tears, knuckles bleeding. WE ARE ALIVE. We are challenged to grow and develop as important individuals. And that is how we should all live a life extra-ordinary.