When I tell you to think of ADVENTURE, I bet you see mountain tops, airplanes, foreign markets, boats on big oceans, and weird foods (well, that’s what I’ve always thought of). However, as any big life event always does, graduation has caused me to revisit my definition of this sweet word that I love so much.
I just graduated–I’m going to keep saying that until the truth actually sets in–and with graduating, I wished a lot of special people good luck with their next adventure. Medical school in Kentucky. Graduate school in Georgia. Missions in the Middle East. Teaching in Colombia. You get the idea.
Leading up to the big day, I had countless conversations with friends that went something along the lines of “I can’t wait to get out of here! I’m so excited to start (fill in the blank with their next step). Can you believe we finally made it?!” And I sat there nodding along with a smile, because my next step wasn’t taking me very far.
I chose to stay. A few days before graduation I was offered my dream job. It just happened to be at the exact same school with the exact same department I had been working with for most of my undergraduate career. This job also gave me the opportunity to get my masters…in the same subject I had been studying for the last four years. As everyone was preparing to depart for the ends of the earth, I was preparing to invest even more deeply in the same community I had come to know so well. I was thrilled, but I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to express this thrill to others.
With graduation comes the pressure to move on to new things. You see, leading up to the big day I also had some conversations with friends that went along the lines of “I feel like I should do something different, but I really just want to stay where I have community. Is it wrong to stay here because I have connections? What if I am just staying here because it is comfortable? I have a good job lined up, but what if there is something better that I am ignoring because it is far away?”
Graduation is the time to start new adventures, but I think we are being foolish if we say adventure has to be far away.
My next step is an adventure. Again, I am someone that loves thoughts of airplanes and mountains and weird foods, but now I am also someone that believes it is possible to adventure near.
Investing in a community is adventure. Taking on a new role with more responsibilities is adventure. Diving into one’s studies is adventure.
I’m not one to argue that staying in your comfort zone is a good thing, but I also don’t think that the only way to get out of your comfort zone involves moving around the world. It is absolutely possible to step out of your comfort zone through daily actions–seek friendships that challenge you, do your job with excellence, ask the big questions–this is adventure too.
So friends, don’t limit yourself, but also don’t be afraid to adventure near, because you never know what discoveries that might hold.