Three Adventures

The First Adventure

Mumble, mumble years ago my grandfather’s younger sister made an uncommon decision. Her five siblings were ┬ácontent to remain in the midwest, raise thriving, big families and then watch their grandchildren grow up.

My conjecture of this time in her life is that Aunt Jan wanted to do something else. After college graduation she moved to Arizona. For two years she and Aunt Fay were employed by the federal government teaching at a reservation school for a few years. Both aunts learned quickly not to hug their students or praise their hard work in public because these things weren’t culturally appropriate in that setting.

When I was growing up the aunts would fly back to visit the extended family in Ohio every year or so. They brought us oranges and grapefruit that tasted like warm, spring sunshine. It always ruined me for store-bought citrus for weeks after they returned home.

Slowly I hear just a little more about their adventures every year, the most interesting stories dribbling out when I least expect them. I savour each one like the fruit they used to bring and wonder what else I will learn the next time we meet. It isn’t easy to ask for stories about adventures that I haven’t heard yet, though. How do you request something when you don’t know its name?

It seems to me that as many stories as I’ve heard from Aunt Jan there are far more that have yet to be shared. I think of the rest as the other half of her adventures! ­čÖé

The Second Adventure

Just before my 22nd birthday I moved to Toronto to begin a life together with the man I loved. It was difficult to move so far away from my nuclear and extended family but I knew that remaining in the midwest and raising a houseful of children wasn’t the right path for me. I wasn’t suited for that life and really wanted to know some other options.

Today Drew and I are moving to British Columbia. We were more than ready for a change:  temperate weather, a more casual culture, and a brand new neighborhood and city to explore.

We have some savings and a goal: to make a living from writing. This is our adventure. I will share our triumphs and failures (but hopefully mostly the former!) with you in the coming months.

What has been or will be your adventure? What paths have you deliberately followed? From which ones have you purposefully wandered?

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  1. I took an adventure off the path expected for me a few years back with my education.

    I come from a family of educated people, we finish an undergraduate degree at minimum, usually more. Having good grades and an impressive ACT score in high school everyone (myself included) assumed I would continue on the expected path of college, probably followed by grad school, ending in my settling down and finding my niche in the world. But half way through my bachelors degree at a well respected college I found myself with a brain full of fascinating information, way-too-many thousand dollars in debt, and the knowledge that I was probably never going to use this degree in the professional world. I started to wonder if traditional schooling was the only choice, or even the best one sometimes. I decided to take my education (and the rest of my life) into my own hands, quit school and moved across the country with the man of my dreams.

    I dove into every book I could find that interested me. I loved being able to steer my own educational path and go off on interesting tangents that I never would have had time for if I were stuck inside the confines of a predetermined curriculum. Things work out the way they’re meant to and where our move landed us I serendipitously found some of the wisest people in my field of study there are on this earth to help me. They recommend books for me in addition to the ones I come across on my own, they can share with me the wisdom of years that I could never have found in even the best literature or classrooms, and within our community there are plenty of real world issues and causes that I can engage in and apply my learning to.

    While I am happy I wandered from the traditional course and feel like my education outside of school has been just as valuable if not more so then the one I got in school, the hardest part has been knowing that all the people I grew up around think that my leaving school was just because I wasn’t smart enough or couldn’t cut it. I’ve had totame my ego considerably to try not to care what people think which has been really tough.

    The man of my dreams that I mentioned earlier and I now have a daughter and are looking into different educational options we have for her when she gets to school age, specifically eclectic homeschooling and unschooling. People will think we’re crazy (who knows, maybe we are) but like you, Drew, and your aunt Jan seem to have found maybe sometimes a little crazy is better than “normal” or expected. And life really is all about the adventure anyway.

    • What a great story, Jenna. I’ve had many of the same emotions and reactions from others in my journey.

      What sort of work are you doing now?

      • Before my daughter was born I had my own music studio and taught preschool music classes and piano part time and took care of the child of a friend of ours part time. Since then I’ve been home with her (and LOVING every minute of it) and doingsome freelance writing and calligraphy on the side.

  2. teresa

    I wish you all the success in the world! I sincerely hope you are able to make a living with your writing. I always enjoy what you write and see potential for both of you!
    I liked reading Jenna’s remarks, also, especially her last line that life is all about the adventure! We have had many adventures over the years, the biggest one really was homeschooling our 3 kids when it was not a popular thing to do. We were somewhat pioneers in it because we started in 1984 and there weren’t many homechoolers around then.
    I can identify with Jenna in that many people thought we’d lost our minds. Our parents were not supportive and we were constantly compared to everyone else. We never regretted it while we were doing seemed the right fit for our family.
    I do look forward to hearing all about your new life in Vancouver!

  3. Before my daughter was born I had my own music studio and taught preschool music classes and piano part-time and took care of the child of a friend of ours part-time. Since then I’ve been home with her (and LOVING every second of it!) and doing some freelance writing and calligraphy on the side.

  4. Flat Stanley

    What has been or will be your adventure? What paths have you deliberately followed? From which ones have you purposefully wandered?

    There was a time not so long ago when I was all about writing books about that very topic, so sure I was that my experiences and lessons-learned were so important and so needed by so many. Jeeesh. Now my story is about how the paths we choose are our own, ha.

    Anyway, the adventure of life keeps unfolding, sometimes in ways that I don’t like, and now the adventure is in learning what it means to love others who are acting “unloveable” instead of investing all my energy into trying to get them to “correct” their “flaws.”

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