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This is Part 2 of our 5-Part series based on nextavenue.org’s piece on 5 Sesame Street lessons we need to revisit as adults.

You probably remember some of the valuable lessons you learned as a child from America’s favorite kids’ show, Sesame Street. Part 1 of our series, “Put Down the Duckie,” reminded us that sometimes we have to let go of hindrances in our lives that might be preventing us from trying new things.

Read Part 1 here.

And now, Lessons from Sesame Street – Part 2: A Sense of Adventure Never Gets Old

(This post is brought to you by the letter A!)

Check out Murray’s “Word on the Street” featuring the word “adventure”:

What comes to mind when you hear the word “adventure”? Would you describe yourself as adventurous? Do you feel like you live a life full of adventure, or do you find yourself fantasizing about a life of adventure and envying others whom you consider adventurous?

What’s the last adventure you had? How did it make you feel? Take a moment to ponder these questions.

Adventures are for Kids

If you have a child, know a child, or were once a child (okay, that officially includes everybody) you know that a sense of adventure is ingrained from birth. No matter where they are or what they are doing, a world of adventure awaits every child. It can drive adults crazy, because kids are compelled to touch, taste, and discuss practically everything, and we just don’t have time for it. We’ve got so much else to worry about. Money, career, family, school – who has time for adventure? That’s kid stuff.

… Right?

Well, the truth is, we can take a lesson from Murray and our kids here. Though it’s tough to retain our adventurous spirit as an adult with all the obligations, stresses and responsibilities thrust upon us, adventure not only keeps us young and vibrant, but it is actually a crucial ingredient in the satisfaction and sustainability of our relationships.

Think about it. Do you feel “alive” sitting at the kitchen table with your spouse going through your latest credit card statement? Or how about vegged out in front of the TV?

Now imagine taking a class with your spouse to learn something new together, or swimming in the ocean, or taking a ski trip. Not to minimize paying bills or watching television sometimes, but let’s be honest – those other things sound more exciting, right?

Researchers from Stony Brook University conducted a study of 274 couples married ten years or more. They were surprised at the number of couples who reported being “intensely in love” after over a decade of marriage. Upon further questioning, the researchers discovered some characteristics these couples had in common. The key contributors to their intense feelings of love included:

  • physical affection (hugging, kissing, cuddling)
  • frequency of sex
  • thinking positively about one another
  • shared experiences

(source: Scientific American)

That last one, shared experiences, encompasses the spirit of adventure. The article states:

Couples intensely in love reported participating in novel, engaging, and challenging activities together. Some of the greatest moments of intimacy in a relationship come from the simple joys of cooking or exercising together, exchanging intellectual ideas over common readings, learning a new and challenging skill like skiing, sharing spirituality by attending church or meditating, and going on travel adventures. That togetherness may create a shared thread of life experience and memories.

A sense of adventure in relationships

“To adventure is to find yourself whole.”
– Unknown

Shared experiences also create a sense of “self-expansion,” which is important to satisfaction in a relationship, particularly in modern relationships where people are looking for a life partner in their spouse. Self-expansion means that a person grows in knowledge and experiences because of their partner and because of the relationship.

According to this New York Times article, “People have a fundamental motivation to improve the self and add to who they are as a person. If your partner is helping you become a better person, you become happier and more satisfied in the relationship.” Research has shown this to be true.

The NYT article states that “self-expansion isn’t just about exotic experiences. Individuals experience personal growth through their partners in big and small ways. It happens when they introduce new friends, or casually talk about a new restaurant or a fascinating story in the news.”

As you can see, adventure doesn’t have to mean elaborate, two-week European trips to taste wine from the vineyards of Italy or ski the Swiss Alps (although those would be nice!). You can be adventurous at home or in your own city, on a budget and with little time to spare!

So let’s thank Murray and our friends at Sesame Street for another valuable lesson: A sense of adventure never gets old!

Stay tuned for Part 3!