10 years ago today, I got on a plane for the very first time, with 28 complete strangers and went to spend a month volunteering in Kenya. I had gone with Leaders Today (aka Me to We) and had the most rewarding and life changing adventure.
I remember coming back and falling very quickly into the rest of my life. I had one year of college left and then onto my career, marriage and a mortgage.
A little over 2 years after our trip, Facebook made it’s way into our world. Several members of our “Kenya Family” hopped online and we created a group just for us. It was a great way to really reconnect and see what everyone was up to.
I recall looking through the various pictures from other trip members who had gone on to do more trips and working for Free the Children, traveled for themselves, were doing empowered things at college, etc. For a brief moment, I felt a bit of jealousy. They were having so many great adventures. And me? Well I had just gotten married, bought a house and started my career. I was settled. I wasn’t having adventures.
As quickly as that feeling came, it passed again. I had simply chosen a different adventure. I had started the rest of my life committed to my best friend, invested in a home and we became real adults. It was a terrifying but exciting new chapter to start. I was also involved in local volunteer organizations, active in politics and was working towards creating my place in the world.
A few years after that, I started my next adventure. I became a mother.
In recent months, I have really started to see just how much she takes after me. Recently she took her first selfie. She asked for the camera to take a picture by herself. I thought she meant of me, so I stood there smiling. Then watched as she turned towards the mirror and took one of herself. I remember thinking, “that really just happened.” It’s was a small and silly thing, but it proved a point. She is learning more from me that I even realized.
This moment of truth hit me and woke me a bit more to something I have been thinking for a while. I want to be an even better example for her and for my newborn son.
This is my job. My adventure.
I may not be traveling the world volunteering my time, but I am raising someone who might. I am raising two pieces of the next empowered generation. I am responsible for two little humans who will enter society with the values they gain in our home.
They see what I do and Lilly is beginning to understand it. She knows Mama is involved with local events (political and volunteer) because I drag her to a good deal of them. She knows Mama runs a website and she loves to look through the pictures of her that I share on here. She is starting to understand that I have a voice and a line of communication to the world outside our home. I want to make sure that she sees me using that voice for good and true change.
This message of defining my role and my stance in the world, is one that I really came to terms with while at BlissDom last fall. Part of what I took away from the conference is a better idea of who I am and what I stand for. As my blog header reads, I am mild naïve and wildly idealistic.
From those words, was born my true tagline; I stand for the innocence of the world.
That is the message I want to pass on today. That even as we grow up and we might feel disconnected from our younger, more philanthropic selves, we can still stand for the things we believe in. We can still have an active role in our cause, even from our settled position in the real world.
That is my hope for the youth of today and my children’s generation coming up behind them. I hope that no matter what life puts in front of them, they can hold onto their innocence. I truly hope they can each remain mildly naïve to the evil in the world and wildly idealistic about the possibilities.
It is your life and your future. Ideally speaking, we can all choose our adventure.