One of my favorite things about being an adult is the freedom to make adventures for ourselves. Spontaneous moments, contrived on a whim are what I think about when I want an adventure. It’s exciting and fun in theory, but reality usually dictates our adventures should be carefully planned out, with every detail attended to. Trips to the beach, meticulously packed for. Weather checked. Restaurant menus previewed. Location mapped. Potty breaks planned. “No, we can’t stop yet!”
Somewhere along the line, the adventure takes on a new definition. It’s not really an adventure anymore. It’s no longer an action of uncertain outcome. We’ve planned ourselves into a rut and plowed the excitement right out of the equation.
You know what’s really an adventure? Things that happen during the course of everyday life that we don’t plan for or anticipate happening. When you’re thrown a curveball, your attitude makes the difference between an unfortunate circumstance and an amazing adventure. That’s what I’m learning lately.
You see, almost a year ago when the Army reassigned Caleb to a new duty station, we planned to only live with my parents for six months while we looked for a house of our own in the area. We planned to store our furniture and most of our belongings in a storage unit until we could move them into the new house. We planned for life to be a temporary transition for six months. And we planned to be okay with that.
We didn’t plan for life as we knew it to completely change. For six months to turn into a year. For us to learn heaps about ourselves, about who we are and what we value most. We didn’t plan to fall in love with my parents, and all the things they could teach our children. We didn’t plan to get rid of most of our belongings and embrace living here for as long as life allows. But that is what has happened. And it is truly great that it has.
That isn’t to say I haven’t struggled with all of this. Boy, have I struggled with the stigma. Because society tells me that I need a beautifully decorated house of my own to be successful. And that moving back in with your parents only happens to people who are struggling financially or have no other option. When I tell people we live with my parents and my grandmother, I get a lot of different responses. Usually all variations of the same question: “Why?”
There are so many reasons why. We like the schools here. We like the neighbors. We like our church. We like our lake. We get along so well with my parents. We still own our previous house and don’t relish the thought of owning two at once.
But really, the answer is so much simpler than all that. Once you open your heart and accept that home is not the building you live in, not the stuff you put on your shelves and not defined by whether or not you own the place where you sleep at night… When you find joy in whatever situation you’re in, that makes it home.
You’re catching on, Jackie! Why leave now.