Last weekend I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do, an adventure/ scavenger race called Questival. I managed to convince one of my friends to go with me, everyone else didn’t find it as appealing as we did (weird) but it was an awesome experience. The group that sponsors the event is called Cotopaxi, and their motto is “Do Good” and llamas, so a lot of the event focused on doing good things in the community and llamas which was a fun twist to running around the Triangle. 24 hours before the event they sent out a list of over 250 different challenges which ranged in silliness from watching the sunrise to parkour in a park to throwing donuts at a teammate to asking a stranger for a 15 second hug. While there were some challenges Steph and I didn’t want to do, like eat a worm, we were able to rack up 299 points and ended 254th out of 457 teams, which was pretty good for our 2 person team (teams could be up to 6 players). But really we did it for the fun and not to win, and we definitely had fun.

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Some of the challenges let me experience new parts of Raleigh, like the RDU observation deck or Halifax Mall, but it also let me visit places that brought back good memories, like going to Chapel Hill or sitting in Nash Square or running through downtown Raleigh trying to complete a word scramble as people were watching. It was 24 hours of fun and memories with one of my best friends, and I am so glad we did it. I could spend a long time talking about different things we saw/did, but I’ll let you experience for yourself the next time it comes to town. What I will say is, go outside your comfort zone. Try new things (even if they cost money). Be silly with your friends. Make new memories and relive some of your best memories (I’m looking at you, UNC) and remember life is too short to not spend at least some part of your day laughing. I think we need more times when our faces hurt from smiling and laughing (which I did a lot of during those 24 hours) and less times worrying about what we look like (I’m sure many of the people who saw us sprinting around the city would have something to say). If something makes you happy, keep doing it. Do good things for people; one of our challenges was to buy flowers and give them to strangers, and the looks on the few people we gave flowers to was amazing. Live simply and let your life be full of joy for yourself and joy for others. As Lin Manuel says in Hamilton, “talk less, smile more.” Spend time with those you love, those who make you a better person, and those who bring you joy.

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I know I’ve been writing a lot about joy and finding joy, and I say joy in particular and not happiness. I feel that happiness comes and goes. It’s changed by what’s around you, but joy is something that comes from inside, something you choose to make. I feel like joy is more about contentedness in life and in yourself. I can still be joyful even in times when I’m not happy, and I want to have joy in my life.

Life is about moving forward, about learning to adapt to uncertainty. It’s about finding people and things who inspire you, who bring out joy in your life and cause you to see things a little bit differently- hopefully for the better, but either way, who challenge you to love more. I’ve got some friends like that, and I love every moment I get to spend with them.

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