Thursday, March 5, 2015
As I've traipsed through airports, wandered the US, driven cars not my own down unfamiliar highways and pondered the next big move/adventure quickly approaching, this clever little quote from a popular children's book seems to be repeating itself over and over in my brain more than ever before.
I've always loved the book Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. It might actually be my favorite of his. But it was always strange to me that from that darling book filled with profound, charming life quotes, this is the one that has always stood out to me most and that I have returned to most often in my life. Like honestly. I remember the gist of the book, but this is the only direct quote I remember from it. It's almost like I have adopted it as a personal mantra or reminder or something. Which is a little bit depressing of a quote for an extreme optimist like me to be carrying around in her back pocket. ( Though I do tend to have rather gloomy taste in literature that often surprises myself and other people...but that's another post for another day.)
Ironically enough, I scratched out the contents of this blog without even remembering or realizing that this week is Dr. Seuss' birthday. (Things that slip your mind when you aren't a nanny anymore.) That being said, the timing of this blog is sort of perfect and also TOTALLY accidental. (In case you were thinking that I, being a writer ,was planning this blog in a timely manner to pay respects to one of the greats while ever so cleverly applying some of his words to my life...As much as I would love to take credit for that...I gotta just be honest.) But then...the fact that I didn't plan it...perhaps it was Dr. Seuss himself whispering this little rhyme to my heart once more at just the right moment....
Okay. That was getting ridiculous.
As I was saying.
This man, Dr. Seuss, is seriously a legend! Every single time I read his books I am amazed at the deep and profound life lessons he manages to capture in simple, lighthearted, easy to read and remember rhymes. (Although I also must say I've always been a bit confused as to why we learn to read with his books considering half of the words they contain are not in fact actual words...) I digress. I suppose I have always adored this book in particular because it is all about adventure. He so beautifully captures the idea that life itself is an adventure...every single part of it. It's about exploring and taking risks and experiencing the world and being all you can be. But, I also love it because it's honest about this adventure we call life. Sometimes we will crash and the result of our risks will be undesirable, and one of the prices for living life adventurously is that often we will find ourselves alone.
I can attest to this truth in my own life. All of them, but especially that last one. I have determined to live life the adventurous way. To see all I can and experience fully and risk and leap into unknowns. But as fun as this is for me....as much as I would never ever change the way I've chosen to live, for the most part it's a choice I made on my own and one I live out daily on my own for the most part as well.
When you decide to get up and go, everyone you love can't do the same. Or at least they don't believe they can. And so the decision to go and to live adventurously is also a decision to go and adventure alone, though we often don't realize it in that initial definitive moment since we are caught up in the romance of all of the adventure that lies ahead.
Of course there are people along the way. New friends we never would have made had we stayed and old ones we never would have bumped into again had we not chosen this life. But the nature of an adventurous life is a whole lot of goodbyes and a lot of time spent with yourself.
At the start of this, it was difficult for me to accept the terms that came along with the life I was hoping to live. I didn't like being alone all of the time. I didn't appreciate the quiet. I hadn't learned how to spend so much time in my own head. I didn't know how to enjoy activities and new places without people to enjoy them with. I hadn't discovered yet that one of my favorite places to write was 30,000 feet in the air surrounded by clouds with my traditional glass of ginger-ale on ice. I didn't realize that my friendships could be just as meaningful with distance between. I didn't like that choosing to try new things in new places required always saying goodbye to another I loved dearly and the people I treasured most being scattered all over the globe.
Of course I have Jesus to thank for being a constant friend and companion, for teaching me how to enjoy large chunks of time spent in reflection and quiet, and for placing the most fantastical people in my life at every point on the journey.
So with time, I learned. I adapted. I embraced the terms.
And now alone is a place I enjoy being very much. Because I've learned that a life of adventure is worth every sacrifice necessary along the way. Although it's hard to see that at the time of setting sail. I will continue adventuring on however that looks, alone or with company and with my heart wide open to everything that lies ahead!