Growing up is over-rated. One could call my current lifestyle– traveling around the world with my musician husband and our 3-year old son– irresponsible; and there would certainly be merit to that opinion. I see it as something else. An adventure.
Sometimes I think we mistake growing up for outgrowing the need for new adventures. And I do believe we all need new adventures.
Adventures are scary–unknowable and uncontrollable by nature–and adults are taught to limit risk, to take precautions. A responsible grown-up gets an education to ensure getting a good job, preferably with benefits and a nice retirement plan, so that at some later point, when all other responsibilities have been met, a carefully planned life of leisure may begin.
The problem with planning everything out, with the safety of the known, is that it deprives us the gift of seeing who we are and what we’re capable of. When faced with being kicked out and homeless in a foreign country, we learn the real meaning of friendship (thanks, Elyse!) and will never again underestimate the value of a spare couch. When faced with a Cassowary (large prehistoric-emu-looking bird) chasing us down a beach, we learn to laugh in the face of fear (and wait patiently in a tree for said bird to get bored and move along). When faced with two weeks of hiking in jungles and the threat of E. Coli putting us off our food, a Pizza Hut in Costa Rica suddenly tastes like haute cuisine.
There is nothing as satisfying or world expanding as putting ourselves out there into the unknown, the terrifying, the uncomfortable. Out of our comfort zones we gain perspective. We learn to be grateful, to be satisfied, to see the beauty in imperfection.
And in these bold moments of adventure we discover stories we must tell, passions we’d pushed aside, people who changed our lives and hopefully for whom we can return the favor. Embrace the fear. Challenge yourself. Write your own adventure. Join me in mine!