Teenage Katie was a dreamer. As a high schooler, I had high hopes of adventure for my future. I was ready to take on the world, climb every mountain, sing every song, and live a full life.
I had visions of living in NYC, surviving on ramen noodles and champagne in a shoebox apartment where I poured my soul into becoming the next great American playwright. I saw myself moving abroad for a year, an independent soul-searching journey where I’d spend my days at outdoor cafes sipping espressos and scribbling away in journals. I felt certain that I’d spend a summer sailing the Caribbean on a small sailboat with a dashing lover. Don’t let me leave out my belief that I’d be married by 24 and a mother by 28.
When we’re a teenager, the future seems endless, filled with possibilities, brimmed to the top with hope and anticipation. I was a sheltered young girl living in a small town who couldn’t wait to get out and go on adventures and to “see the world”. Life was boring and I was busting at the seams for the future to come. My fantasies seemed so realistic to my 16-year old self.
I think you can safely guess that I never did live that bohemian life in NYC, or the solo expat life, or life on the sea. What happened to my sense of adventure? Do I regret this? No. Those fantasies fueled me with hope and pushed me to work hard and dream of a big life. To open my eyes to a bigger world.
But the bigger reason why I have no regret revolves around perception of self. What do all of my teenage adventures have in common? Soul searching. The main purpose of each of those adventures was for me to go out and find myself, find a purpose, find something to live for. I thought that I’d find those things only by living out huge dreams, taking big risks, and separating myself from all that I know. Oh how wrong you were naive Katie.
I named this blog “A Beautiful Little Adventure” because I like the daily reminder that everyday life IS an adventure. Why wait of big fantasies when every single day is filled with possibilities? I can see my teenage self rolling her eyes at me, mocking my “settled” and boring life.
I don’t regret not living out those big dreams because I have found myself. I found her on the adventure of finding lifetime friends in college and doing crazy things, I found her on the adventure of working jobs I’d never imagine myself in, I found her in the adventure of dating, I found her in the adventure of defining who I am and embracing my individuality.
I thought I should look up the official definition of the word Adventure.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines adventure as:
a : an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risksb : the encountering of risks
c: an exciting or remarkable experience
So yes, every day IS an adventure.
Everyday we are experiencing something new, taking a risk, and experiencing something remarkable. There’s the surprising fact that I am living back in my hometown, a place I was so anxious to run away from, and I’m enjoying it. There is the newness of everyday – the choices we make, the people we meet, the little surprises that come our way. There is the biggest risk of all time, falling in love and getting married. Giving yourself fully to another human being and committing for life doubles the risk and the surprises that life may throw your way.
The future used to look endless. Now life is rushing by so fast that some days I get whiplash and have to stop and recover and really look around. By looking at life as an adventure I’m choosing to celebrate all the moments big and small. From weekend getaways, to weekly friend dates, to even trips to Costco (free samples!). An adventure is waiting for you every single morning. With a little change in perspective you can see how big “your” world is.
As a teenager the world outside of yours was the one you wanted to be a part of. It was all about escaping the known. Living life isn’t about escaping. The adventure is waiting for you right here, in the present. I choose to embrace it, see all the possibilities it holds and do what I love.
Today, I’d also like to share with you the story of Heather, Cameron, and Lily Von St. James. This beautiful family is a role model for changing your life perspective and living the adventure of life moment by moment.
Eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis. She had just given birth to a daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born.
The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears! Each year, The Von St. James gather around a fire in their backyard with friends and family, write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. They celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, they celebrate life!
This will be the 8th year that we celebrate on February 2nd!
I encourage you to check out the LungLeavin’ Day website to read more about their inspiring story. (it is one very cool interactive site!)
What a beautiful reminder that life is what you make it. Choose strength over fear. Choose love over anger.