When Adventure is Actually Staying Still

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Adventure (n): an exciting or remarkable experience

So, I’m sitting here in the sunlight sipping on cold coffee because I’m too lethargic to go top it off with something warm. The two bright eyed pea pods are fast asleep in the cribs, cuddling with fuzzy little bunnies. And I’m sitting here thinking about what adventure really is.  I saw this image on Pinterest the other day, and it made me sort of introspective. Before I continue, yes. I’m one of those people. I get on a website, waste hours of time, pin photos of places I’ll never go, recipes I’ll never bake, and crafts I’ll most likely never attempt. Come on now, who actually has time to do everything they find?

When I came across this photograph, my spirit, at first screamed ‘Yes!’ The beauty of the grass behind the bicycle made me want to just drop everything and take off into the great unknown. (Please, chuckle a little bit. I’m single, don’t work permanent jobs, and live at home. What do I really have to ‘drop’?) Who doesn’t want to quit work, get a tan, fall in love, and go adventuring? Realizing my reaction though, I began thinking about the effect that sites like Pinterest or Facebook–or really any form of social media–are having on our generation. We worship adventure. Experiences. We are a generation that craves movement and will settle for nothing less.

It’s a common conversation in my house. We feel as if we are entitled to travel–as if it’s the only way to adventure. The only way to be happy. I’m 22 years old, and my feet have touched the soil of four different countries. I have stood over the top of a volcano in Scotland. I took a row boat out on a lake in England. I’ve been in a prison in Bolivia and held babies who had no one to take care of them. I’ve hiked the Andes mountains. I flew across the world to India where I swam in the ocean and walked through some slums and ate fresh mango every day. I’d say I’ve been pretty lucky.

Yet, still. The more I see, the more I want to see. My heart longs for new experiences, new sights, and new people. I long to travel. I long to have out of the ordinary experiences to make my story a story worth telling. The problem is that, at a certain point, the seemingly ordinary doesn’t feel like enough.  We become discontent with staying still.

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Here’s the thing. We all think we’re the only one who has this deep longing to go and see, but in reality, we all crave something different than what we have.

Something I’m learning though, is that adventure–real adventure–is taking the risk to stay still. It’s taking time to get to know people–the good and the bad and the messy. It’s  walking through every stage of life with someone–every breakup, birthday party, late night ice-cream run, and tearful conversation about faith and redemption. And then it’s standing next to that person on their wedding day. It’s waking up in the middle of the night to the cries of your newborn baby, rocking them until they finally fall asleep on your chest. Real adventure is choosing to love someone even when you don’t like them. It’s choosing, every day, to wake up and say–whatever comes today–I accept the challenge and the experience. It’s being able to say that you’ve lived 50 years of life with another person, held great grandchildren in your wrinkled and weathered arms, and whispered under your breath, “they all look a little bit like me.” It’s finding a routine, going to the same coffee shop every Monday morning, and cheering at every soccer game. I call this adventure, because these are the hard things to do. And these are the remarkable things that make a story worth telling.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t travel, explore, or experience new places. I’m just saying that somewhere, in the great big mixing bowl of our spirits and hearts and minds–a balance must be found. Because, if we’re really being honest with ourselves, we could adventure and travel and go places our entire life and not really experience anything remarkable, pure, true, or significant. 

So, today, I challenge myself–and you. Be adventurous. What’s around you when you’re standing still?

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6 Replies to “When Adventure is Actually Staying Still”

  1. I wish I could even begin to tell you how much I love this. I have thought about this sort of thing SO MUCH, and was actually talking to Mike about something similar last night. Adventure and exploration and discovery are about so much more than just the breadth of experiences; it’s about the depth of them, too. And that usually requires staying put for awhile.

  2. Audrey this is awesome! I’m so glad that Molly sent me this link. Keep using the gift you have in writing and thinking well.

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