I am itching for an adventure. This morning while I was getting ready in the bathroom I opened up the window and the crispest, freshest air came rushing in. It was the kind of cool air that made you want to close your eyes and imagine yourself in another life. The kind of air that dared you to live adventurously; to get back outside into nature. But, you see, adventure and I have a love/hate relationship.
Taking in a deep breath of this air instantly reminded me of my youth when I was a camp counselor. Back then I was truly free. I lived in the woods. I got dirt in my hair and under my nails. I played games with my campers and wouldn’t think twice about pouring a glass of milk over my head if it meant I didn’t have to clear the plates from the dining room after dinner. I was fun. I can remember smearing dirt on my face without thinking twice and hiking down brush covered paths without worrying about the bugs or poison ivy that may be lurking below my feet. I smile when I think back on those days. I wonder where that girl went?
Somewhere in the midst of marriage, parenting and growing up I lost that piece of me. It saddens me to think back on it. Somehow and for some reason I allowed this monster of doubt and fear to creep into my life. This evil force now has the power over me to make me worry. I never used to live with a fear of germs. Now, I think about them often and I hate it. I never used to worry about jumping on the back of a horse and taking off to who knows where. Now, I am cautious. I think about falling off and getting hurt. Why does this happen? How did I allow this?
The other day I happened across a t.v. show on Hulu that was titled “Travel with Kids”. It was a series that followed a mom, dad and two boys as they traveled across the world. In the episode I watched the family took a trip to the Amazon, slept in rooms that were open to nature and hiked through the forest in flip flops. The parents were so open and relaxed as they watched their children run ahead of them to explore nature on their own. Even when one of the boys was stung by a wasp they didn’t panic and call in an air lifted rescue (which is probably what I would have done. . I mean, come on, it could have been a poisonous wasp.) No, they gave his some Benadryl and hugs.
These parents aren’t the only ones either. There are many other families who travel the world with their kids and keep blogs to document it. As I read their stories I am jealous of their ability to be free and adventurous. I cannot help but feel a tugging in my heart to embark on the same adventure. However, no sooner do the words pop into my head that the self doubt starts and I tell myself that I am thinking foolishly.
This morning, however, when I took that deep breath of fresh air, I found that the carefree and adventurous girl does still live within me. She has just somehow been bound by this crippling fear of life, but she is STILL THERE. Who I am inside no longer matches who I am on the outside and that needs to change. I need to free myself from the fear of germs, the fear of pain, the fear of the unknown and just start doing. I am working towards a goal in life which I am calling “freedom”.
I don’t know if any of you have dealt with OCD or other panic attacks after growing up, but it is rough. I really can’t pinpoint when it started. It has just slowly taken hold over me like a black fog. It is a heavy stress that sits right on my shoulders making it sometimes hard to move. It is a burden that I am bearing unwantedly. My goal is to break free from the hold that it has on me right now and DO adventurously. This fearful, cautious person is not me and I don’t want to raise my children to be scared of life either.
This story has yet to have a happy ending, only because I am still writing it. I am working my way back to find that girl that lives within me. I hope someday to fill these pages with stories of grand adventure and freedom just like the other bloggers that I follow.
Still, this freedom that I am after doesn’t always have to include a big adventure; that is just my ultimate goal. Everyday I am making choices to free myself from worry and doubt. The worry that I feel wont make a difference in the world, so I need to learn to let it go and move forward. Slowly, as I do this and open myself up to new things, I will find that part of me that I am missing. I am confident that one day I will take in a deep breath and open my eyes to find myself right where I want to be.
Thinking about traveling with your kids? Check these great resources out.