I have always been an adventurer at heart. But its looked differently in each season of my life. Before I was 18, it looked like getting covered in sticky sap from climbing the tallest pine tree in our backyard, riding my dad’s big blue beach cruiser bicycle around the neighborhood with friends and eventually short car trips with the windows down, music turned all the way up. And once I turned 18, it looked like moving around… a lot.
I stayed at home the summer after my senior year of high school, but in September I boarded a plane headed for Oakland, CA. I lived there for a year, and it was the most challenging year of my life. It was my first time living away from home, which was all the way on the other side of the country. There were no familiar faces, no familiar places. And I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of hard days, lots of tears, and lots of thoughts of leaving, but what spoke louder in my heart was the laughter, the lessons, and the love that I learned about that year. That year was an adventure.
Then, one short year later, I headed to a small suburb of Chicago, IL. Some friends of mine just missed me so much that they asked me to come live there…. just kidding. They were expecting their fourth child, and they knew that I was looking for “what’s next”. So, they offered me a nannying job. It was quite a culture shock moving from inner city Oakland, to wealthy suburban Chicago. But I was able to soak everything in that happened in CA, go to school and spend time with some people I love.
Then 6 months later… I drove north up 95 and lived in Milwaukee for a year. I lived with one of my Oakland roommates and another friend, and nannied for another family. I learned about true midwestern hospitality here. Let’s just say that this year consisted of fish fry Fridays to polka music, afternoons by the lake, Alterra’s grilled cheese sandwiches and Kopp’s frozen custard. If you didn’t notice, 3 of those 4 activities revolved around food. That is how I would sum up Milwaukee. Nice people, good food.
Then I headed back to Chicago for another year. And now I am in Charlotte, North Carolina. I moved down here with those same friends, and a lot has happened in my 3 years here. I met and got married to my husband, graduated from cosmetology school and lived in 4 different houses.
Earlier this week I was having a conversation with my friend Maria over coffee. I was telling her about what I have been learning through this month-long exploration of what it means to live an adventure. I’ve learned that it means living outside of your comfort zone. For some people, living that way means taking risks, changing things up, breaking routine. But for me, all of those things ARE INSIDE of my comfort zone. If I don’t have change and risks, I start getting uncomfortable. I have never lived in one place longer than a year. And even though I’ve been in Charlotte for 3 years, big changes have happened every year.
It’s been a year since the last big change, and I’m starting to get that itch again. The itch for something new. Something different. But what happens if I keep going at the same pace I am now? What happens on the other side? What do I have to learn from choosing to stick it out? I don’t know, because I haven’t chosen that path before. But it could mean deeper relationships with our friends here and now. It could mean peace. It could mean I learn that I wasn’t meant to be in one place for very long.
So for now, I am choosing to live outside my comfort zone by just sitting here where I am now. And learning things that I can only learn once I get past my “one-year” pattern.
:: This post is part of a 31 day series. To se a list of the rest of the posts, click here. ::