Back in January I wrote a blog post about the tug and pull my soul feels to live a nomadic and adventure filled life. Back in January my options for the summer still included but were not limited to an internship in Colorado or a summer camp in North Carolina. These things were appealing because the last three summers I’ve spent traveling and having adventures working at summer camp.
Life threw me a loop when both of those options fell through and no new ones cropped up. For the first since being in college I would be home for more than a month.
This prospect simultaneously terrified me and bored me.
Summer, after all, is about new and exciting experiences and doing big things and being away, isn’t it?
So why on earth am I living at home again?
I wrote the first part of this post a few weeks ago back in June. It was before my summer job started, when I spent my days piddling around the house watching Netflix, sitting by the pool, and doing arts and crafts projects (I know, none of that sounds terrible, but I was awfully bored of being alone).
The ultra relaxed beginning of my summer taught me something really important that I had never meditated on before: the value in being still.
In recent times I have come to appreciate more going out often and cramming as many things into one day as possible. I became the person that would leave her room for work or class in the morning and then not come back until bedtime, which would oftentimes be after midnight. Whereas before the prospect of a weekend with no plans would excite me, it now bored me. This is not to say that I was absolutely opposed to sitting down and reading a book or watching a movie, but I would desire this much less frequently than I had before.
The same thought process held true for this summer. I wanted to be busy everyday, blogging for an internship and taking mountain trips on the weekends or living the summer camp life at one of my favorite places in the world, with some of my favorite people.
I knew these experiences would have been meaningful, that through them I would have learned a lot and done some pretty freaking cool things.
So when I discovered I’d be home all summer I felt like I would end up drowning in a sea of lonely and unmeaningful boredom.
Some days felt like that, for sure, but most of them turned out to be pretty alright.
Adventure exists in all forms, I learned small bit by bit. Sitting on a plane, the top of a mountain, a cobblestone street are worthy endeavors. But there are smaller, quieter moments of sitting in the cool of the pool and watching the sky. Allowing hours to pass by with a cup of tea and a downtown street in front of you. Going places you’ve been before with different people to do different things. Saying goodnight every night without having to say goodbye.
Adventure, I am finding, is not always a flurry of here to there and long flights and uncomfortable places. I am finding it can be found in the long lonesome days, in a mental and figurative uncomfortable place, in looking for the interesting in the ordinary and stretching moments.
I nicknamed this summer the “summer of self love,” because I have spent a lot of time investing in myself through writing, blogging, crafting, Netflixing, sitting by the pool, climbing, cycling, and beyond. And in that I’ve found meaning. Though I haven’t been writing blog posts for an international publication or telling a group of kids every week the story of Jesus I have allowed myself to rest and be refreshed and get to know myself more. Its pretty cheesy, but this summer has helped me find and figure myself out a little more, purely out of the necessity of having to spend time by myself. And I’ve decided I’m a decently interesting and at least mediocrely talented person who is doing well in some things but needs vast amounts of work in other things.
The point I am trying to make here is that we live in a culture that almost idolizes adventure, but adventure in its biggest, grandest, most outrageous sense, and seems to ignore the adventure that can be found in everyday. But we should embrace this adventure too! Crazy outrageous things help us grow, but so do the long and almost painful days spent alone, which can sometimes be more uncomfortable than being overseas in a different culture.
Life is a valuable thing, every single part of it, and it would do us well to fall as in love with the quiet moments as we tend to with the big ones.
That being said, I ended up with the opportunity to travel to different places and spend time with family and friends, which has offered me many good experiences and thankfully spiced things up a bit.
I also spent almost everyday with a group of 15-25 middle schoolers, which was an adventure all its own.
And just think, theres still a month left with so much to learn and do 🙂