On this day last year, I was with some of my favorite people. On the beach. In Miami. Getting ready for my next adventure. Starting in Brazil. The next day. Not a care in the world, aside from where to purchase my next mimosa.
A year later I am sitting on my parents’ couch. Eating cereal. Writing this post. On a computer I can’t really afford.
A common theme in my life is my inability to stay in one place. I quite literally can’t stay put. I haven’t lived in one city consecutively for more than 6 months in the last 7 years. Whether I’m studying, working, or exploring just for the sake of exploring, I always feel a sense of accomplishment the more I move around. A sense of pride of being able to say that I am new to city. Creating a name for myself. By myself. And once I start getting comfortable, I’m onto the next adventure.
Last year I was visiting home from the east coast when the lease for my expected return to Philly fell through. That same day--a Sunday--I went to church for the first time in a while. The pastor gave a message called “Planted” where he challenged us to stay committed to one place for a year. To experience both ups and downs, to grow individually and as part of a community, and to give back to that community. (I think by “place” he was referring to a church home, but I really felt convicted to extend that to mean a city, given the state of affairs in my life at the time.)
Many people take a year off to travel the world and “discover themselves.” I’m deciding to do the opposite. To take this year to do something I haven’t done in years--stay and grow in one place: Los Angeles. It’s really hard. When I moved out at 17, I never planned on moving back in at home. Some days living at home makes me feel like a failure. I have unintentionally come to associate moving around with being productive, so staying put makes me feel like I'm not progressing.
But here’s what I’ve learned so far: I don’t need to be on the move in order to grow or challenge myself. The things I value about travel--getting outside of my comfort zone, becoming involved in local communities, building a network, living in the now, growing, exploring, learning--are all things I can do right here, right now. Travel is just one means, out of many, and being planted does not mean being stagnant. I mean if tree has to plant roots in order to flourish, it must not be that crazy of an idea--right? So as ironic as it sounds, the next step in my journey as a self-proclaimed traveler is to remain planted, in order to continue to grow internally.
So here’s to another year of growth, uncertainty, and adventure.
© taylordmills 2017
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