“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”
~ Oprah Winfrey
~ Oprah Winfrey
“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd.
The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.”
~ Albert Einstein
I like travelling on my own. I like having the freedom of not needing to consider another person in my plans (though I also enjoy meeting up with old or new friends and swapping stories). And mostly I like the space to read, write, or watch a movie while in transit on a bus, train, or plane. So when the couple next to me on my flight home last week offered a friendly greeting, I was a little wary. They asked about my travel plans, and I politely returned the question. I don't fully remember how the conversation went after that, but at some point they asked me what my profession was.
[I want to interject here that this was actually the first time that I gave my response without qualifying it with comments like “completed my MA earlier this year; just starting out; exploring my options; working at a restaurant to pay the bills.” I kept waiting for them to call my bluff (which speaks more about my perception of myself than anything else, I know)... but they didn't... and it felt pretty cool to be accepted as a counsellor! However, from the response they did give, I can see a day when I may not want to admit my intended profession so freely...]
The couple responded with affirmation for the work I do, how needed it is, etc., and shared part of their story supporting a child who struggles with addictions. Everybody has a story to share...
The woman then gave me some advice about living my life to the fullest and following the adventure. Their knowing only the briefest moment of my story, this seemed slightly humorous to me. What if she had known that I have followed adventure in various solo and group travel excursions; with multiple moves, sometimes away from family and friends; by going back to school to pursue a Master's degree; and deciding years ago to no longer live my life in the “shoulds”? I maybe have not followed every adventure, or always and completely lived my life to the fullest. But I have tried.
I suspect these were good, warmhearted people with wisdom from life's experience to share. Perhaps in another time and place I would have pursued the pleasant conversation further, after all I really do enjoy hearing others' stories. But this time I simply smiled and thanked her. If only in the hopes that the conversation would be over so I could enjoy my movie for the remainder of the flight...
As we left the plane – they to catch another flight, me to find my luggage – I wished them well. They smiled, waved, and the woman called out “Remember: Go for the adventure!”
Ok, I thought to myself, there is a reason for this intersecting of stories. There is a message in this meeting, this conversation, this advice that I am to heed. So I put those final words together with their trust in my profession as they know it. It is true that I have had adventures in my past. But pursuing this career is also an adventure. And it will serve me well, I think, to look at it as such. An adventure sure to be full of lessons, growth, failure, and success. Go for it, I will!