But the reality of my life was quiet different. I was a quiet, often shy little girl that wanted to please everyone that came across my path. That niceness and that compassion was often a gift but it also led to insecurities as I watched friends come and go in and out of my life. My childhood consisted of turning mud pies into lavish cakes and old beer cans into delicious island smoothies, as me and some other childhood friends managed to build a fort away from home deep in the woods near the family barn and create a place of our own. We didn't have much, but we sure did have an imagination. I remember once we piled up sheets of old tin left over from the barn roof, on the ground. Our purpose was to make a trampoline. And it worked. We never told our parents cause we knew that we were jumping on a tetanus shot waiting to happen... but once the jumping began, that old tin turned into the best trampoline we could have ever imagined. The logs that we had to climb to get over to the treacherous swamps were really mere logs that had fallen over a small spring of water. But in our minds it was an adventure to be had. We had the time of our lives in those woods that was just yards from the busy interstate 40. But in our minds, we were hours away from our normal lives and we had created something great. Something we had dreamed about.
Now let's skip to College. And with that season the infamous question arose. What do you want to major in? I remember the words rolling off of my dad's tongue as I received the letter of acceptance to Appalachian State University. I was standing in the kitchen with my new college packet as a young 17 year old who had just got home from cheerleading practice whose primary concern was what I would wear to school the next day. Basically he had just asked the question...
What do you want to do with the R E S T of your Life.
I remember my response to this day. I wanted to be a teacher. And as the words left my mouth I remember the doubt that I had felt inside of me at that very moment. It was as if I had just sentenced myself to a lifetime of an endless career with no way out. I felt like I had determined my whole life in one plan by just determining my career choice. Now this may be ok for most, but I remember the sickening feeling I had at that very moment.
I spent the rest of my college years pursuing Elementary Education, but considered changing my major at many times throughout. Once I wanted to be a Park Ranger so that I could hike the Appalachian Trail. The other was maybe I should be a photographer so that I could work for the National Geographic, travel the world and take pictures of animals that I am terrified of. Bad idea. I am barely capable of taking a decent picture with an iPhone and I am pretty sure that anything larger than a dog should be behind bars.
So what was that? Why was I determined to set myself on a path of becoming one thing, but yet I wrestled with constant dreaming, constant ideas, constant desires of more. I craved an adventure. But that wasn't supposed to be... I was supposed to start a career, work, retire and then I could enjoy life before I kick the bucket. Wasn't that how it worked?
I became a teacher in the year of 2004. I spent one semester in the classroom and I then stepped into other careers. Surprise, Surprise. Several careers actually. I returned to what I knew which was the classroom and I stayed there until I had my first child.
I loved being a stay at home mom. I still do. There is never a day that goes by that I am not thankful for my time here with my children. There is not a day that my life as a mom is not an adventure. It changes every day.
But I am craving more. I want to continue dreaming even at the age of 32. I don't know that I ever want to answer the question of "what do you want to do for the rest of your life" with one simple answer. My prayer is that God would continue to take me out of my comfort zone and send me on the adventures that I dreamed of as a child. That even as an adult, that I would dream of finally seeing those Colorado mountains and visiting other countries to save the world one person at a time. I pray that He will bring me into places that some are afraid to go and that He would show me places that blow my imagination away. And mostly I pray that when I leave this earth, that when my girls talk about their mother they will say, "she spent her whole life living her God-given adventure, unafraid, unhindered and unwilling to stop short of what God had for her."
I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. And part of me prays that I never do. That I am able to live my life with continued dreams, hope and craving the adventure. And I mostly pray that these cravings, that they will lead to me doing. That when the time comes, that I will not cling to what is comfortable or what I know to be the "safe thing" but that I will hop on board with complete trust in who my Father is and the plans He has for me.
Until that day, my adventures of kid tantrums, the buzzillion life questions I answer in a day to my kids, the tears that I wipe clean along with the kisses and hugs, are perfect training ground for my next big adventure. I feel certain that at the age of 32... my life is just now beginning.
How about you?