Matt and I were standing in the middle of a hotel parking lot in what seemed to be a semi-sketchy part of San Jose. We had just come out of the Sierras the night before and stopped there to sleep in a real bed and use indoor plumbing. We were tired, mostly broke and had no real plans in front of us other than the plane we were catching out of San Francisco a few days later. We left that parking lot and headed north up the California coast with the few dollars we had left as I triumphantly declared we were on to the next adventure (even though we had no idea what that adventure was) and it just sort of became our mantra.
Yesterday Matt left his job of 5 years to take a job that is going to help feed hungry people in the Dayton area. He took a job that required a pretty hefty pay cut. He took a job with very little vacation time. But he took a job that will make him feel like he’s helping people in need. He took a job that will make him feel good at the end of every day. And while I could sit and freak out about money or the changes that I’m sure will come over the following weeks, I keep repeating “on to the next adventure” over and over in my head. It was my mantra 4 years ago and it’s my mantra right now.
I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up in social norms and what people think the next step in life should be. Get a good job. Buy a house. Climb the corporate ladder until you’re old. Buy bigger and better things that you don’t have time to enjoy. Retire. But sometimes you have to take a step backwards in order to move forward in life. You have to shed some layers in order to grow new ones. I truly think this is the best thing that has happened to us in a long time. We are able to re-prioritize the things we feel are important and the things we feel we “have” to have. We can live a little more simply and feel a little more free. We can lessen our load and travel a little lighter. I don’t know if this path will be a short jaunt or a long journey, but I’m looking forward to our future and the adventure that awaits.
I recently had a client say something to me that I keep dwelling on, so much in fact that I decided to write about it. They said “once you and your husband are done acting like kids maybe you’ll settle down and have some of you own.” I don’t think they meant it in a negative way, but it irked me. It made me go through the catalog of thoughts I keep boxed up in my brain of all the things Matt and I do in our lives. Are we really just two almost 30 year olds acting like children? And if so, is that really the worst thing someone could say about us?
I’m sure this client has seen a video or two I’ve posted of Matt riding a way too tiny mini bike on one wheel through our neighborhood. Or a video of him falling off his skateboard. Or a picture of me building a small ramp in the backyard to ride my dirt bike off of. Or us building out the inside of a van in the way that some kids may build a tree house or fort to “live in.” (However I don’t know a single child that could dump that much money into a fort/tree house without their parents getting a little suspicious of the random Home Depot charges on their credit card.)
Either way it got under my skin. But the more that I think about it, the more I’m realizing we actually do act like two kids on summer break the majority of the time. And so often the things that we do, we do with child like wonder. We walk up to a rock face and instead of just seeing a blank rock we think of the best way to get to the top of it. We stare up at a 14,000 ft. mountain peak and envision us standing on top in all our glory and then bust our butts to do so. We gaze across meadows and stare in amazement at the family of elk eating foliage like we’ve never seen anything cooler in our lives even if we’ve passed 100 elk that day in the car. We ride our bicycles to our friends house instead of driving our car. We try not to sweat the small stuff. We suck the marrow out of life Every. Single. Day.
Maybe acting like a kid isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe more people should remember what it’s like to be that always exploring kid looking for the next adventure to take on without any hesitation. Maybe we should all go out this weekend and look at the world through childlike eyes and see what kind of awesome adventures there are just waiting outside your front door. You might be surprised at how much fun you can have without even trying.