The end-of-year rush to reach 100 adventures has passed — I actually ended up with 102 due to an accounting error and a wonderful New Year’s Eve hike through Dartmoor.
And so here we are again, back at zero. Or one, thanks to a wonderful New Year’s Day hike through Dartmoor. Start as you mean to go on.
This is the double stone row at Hurston Ridge. It was constructed thousands of years ago in the midst of a dense forest of alder, oak and hazel, most likely as a form of crowd control for Neolithic hunters waiting to have their crack at The Beast Of Dartmoor.
Sometime between lunch and afternoon tea on New Year’s Day, my companions and I processed solemnly down the stone row. It was a powerful moment that symbolised the transition from old year to new and from dry feet to soggy.
I love New Year for the same reason I love Mondays, birthdays, anniversaries, solstices, equinoxes, new moons, full moons, Kalends, Nones and Ides.
I relish the opportunity to exploit the psychological power of an arbitrary date on which I can wipe clean the soiled and besmirched slate of my own personal biography and, indeed, fate.
At these slate-polishing moments, I can afford myself the time to look back over the past year / week / month / moon / ancient festival season and decide that everything from this day forth shall be different (or the same, depending).
As the business management psychologists like to say, I use ‘salient temporal landmarks’ to create ‘new mental accounting periods’, which ‘relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce [me] to take a big-picture view of [my] lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviours’.
Yes, I have multiple lives. (At least that’s how it feels at the moment.)
That is why, after a short period of reflection (I think I was waiting for some soup at The Old School tearoom in Belstone), I arrived at the decision to reprise my 100 Days of Adventure adventure for 2022.
Why? Because I know from experience that adventures in the G.O.D.* make me a healthier and happier human being and I also know from experience that, unless I hold myself to account by counting them, one by one, I will adventure less and subsequently feel less healthy and less happy.
It’s simple. So simple, in fact, that I’m surprised that few people count the really REALLY important things in their lives.
Lots of people count their money, many people count their steps, but I haven’t met anyone else who, say, counts the number of friends they see every day — and what could be more important than that?
Whether it’s adventures, friends or enthusiasm that you want to maximise in 2022, I’d gently encourage you to add one little extra flower to the bouquet of your New Year’s Resolution: a simple, irrefutable way of tracking your serene progress.
Oh, and ideally a means of holding yourself to public account, such as by writing an unbroken chain of 302 weekly newsletters…
Welcome to 2022, people — it’s going to be a blast!
*Great Out Doors. Despite the fact that it doesn’t really work, I’ve been eccessively delighted with this acronym ever since I discovered it back in 2018. Please share widely. I’ll figure out a way to monetise it later.