You know those "Visited States" maps going around on Facebook? Well, here's mine:
Let me tell you about this map. I recently saw an ex-boyfriend's map on Facebook, and I chuckled to myself a bit (and maybe rolled my eyes) because my map is a lot more pink than his map. In fact, the number of states I've been to is nearly double the number he's been to.
Why is this remarkable?
Let me take you back to the day this ex-boyfriend and I broke up. He said I wasn't adventurous enough. Not only did that hurt, it was confusing. What in the world did he mean by that? I guess I should've asked him to operationalize the word "adventurous," but from a couple of other things he said, I gathered that to him, adventurous meant "sporty," and "well-traveled." Still, this didn't really make sense. Sure, I don't play any of the traditional American team sports, but I do like to hike, raft, paddleboard, row, and occasionally climb a rock wall. What did he mean???
When I told my friend Casey about the breakup, he said something like, "He said that? Really??? You're one of the most adventurous people I know. You're always open to new intellectual ideas, and you genuinely listen to other points of view, even though you already have a strong set of beliefs."
It was one of the greatest compliments anyone has ever given me, and it lifted me up during a time when I felt awful. More importantly, it opened my mind to what being adventurous really is. I don't know why it never occurred to me before . . . I'm constantly forcing myself into uncomfortable situations and awkward conversations and unfamiliar intellectual territory. In that sense, I'm actually quite adventurous.
Also. Let's review the last seven months of my life:
- I moved to an economically-challenged state for love.
- I moved halfway across the country to start a new job in a place where I knew no one.
- I've been exploring California mostly on my own. I've been to beaches and mountains all by myself.
- I went to a concert by myself last week because a) I don't know anybody around here who likes that band, and b) it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.
Every time I see pictures of friends in faraway lands and every time I hear of people doing daring things, such as skydiving, I think of what my friend Casey said. I think about how adventure is more than taking physical risks. It's about being bold, being brave, and trying new ways to think and do.
Thing I'm thankful for: cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. They're wonderfully terrible.