How I Found my Way Back to Adventure as a Stay-at-Home Mother
by Abigail Anderson
The day I turned twenty, I bought my first car. It was a white 1991 Honda Accord, with only 99,000 kilometers on it. Within the first year I owned it, I added another 50,000 kilometers to the odometer and many more in the years that followed.
In my early twenties, I travelled anywhere my little car could take me, and my adventurous spirit would lead me. It took me to numerous towns where I could try out independence as a young adult; it carried me home when I missed my Mom and Dad; it brought me closer to old friends who had moved away to form their own adventures and to new friends whose adventures were crossing paths with mine; and it carried me from one new job to another so that I could discover my skills, abilities, and passions in this life.
It’s been twelve years now since I bought my first car for my 20th birthday. I still have the car, though it doesn’t see many adventures anymore. These days, a little worse for wear and speckled with rust, the odometer slowly climbs to the 400k mark as it takes my husband to and from work, so I can enjoy the first few years of my children’s lives before they start wanting independence of their own.
But I digress.
This story is not about a car. It’s about a journey, and even though my wonderful little car carried me safely to each destination my wandering heart desired, somewhere along the road, I forgot I was the one driving the car…
When I was 24, I went back to school, and I met my future husband. Within a few years, we bought our first house, got married, and had two beautiful children. This was the life I had always dreamed of.
So now what?
I started feeling lost, purposeless, and guilty – guilty that I felt purposeless while being a mother to two helpless and wonderful babies, and lost because it never occurred to me to have a ‘next’ goal after having children. It was as if in my mind, my life would be complete at that moment on, and forever more.
Needless to say, I was in need of an awakening of the spirit. As a mother, I simply knew it wasn’t enough. How was I going to teach my children to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals if I was too chicken to step out and show them not only how it’s done, but that it’s important? How but by taking risks, would I teach them if the reward is great, the effort is easy.
Although I had become aware that I needed to start pursuing goals in my life again, the thought of taking any risks was terrifying. It had been so long since I’d had any adventures. I hadn’t met any new people in years; I hadn’t been to any new places, or travelled on my own; and because I was a stay-at-home mom, I hadn’t been supporting myself financially either.
So, I started small. To get inspiration, I read story upon story of women and mothers who are taking the adventurous road, following their passions, and facing their fears. To grow, I challenge myself. I challenge myself physically by learning about fitness; I challenge myself mentally by picking up some new hobbies like painting, and going back to some old hobbies like playing guitar, writing, and crafting; I challenge myself psychologically by opening up to people about my goals and dreams and in so doing, I hold myself accountable to loved ones who have my back; and finally, I challenge myself emotionally by learning new skills to increase my compassion and understanding for both myself and for others.
I am driving the car again.
Even though my adventures look very different from the ones I had in my early twenties, I feel excited, scared, and every bit as uncertain as I did then. But, from those small steps through the door to adventure, I am once again finding meaning in my life. I am becoming braver with every step I take and change has once again become a love in my life. I am filled by a sense of mystery and anticipation of what my life will look like in the coming days, months, and years. With compassion for myself, I move forward knowing that though I will stumble here and there, memories will be created, and others will be inspired just as I have been by all the brave women I read about and hear about on a daily basis.
Whether your idea of an adventure is trotting the globe, getting out and meeting new people, or doing something different from anything you’ve ever done before, if you don’t open the door, you’ll never get out of your box. If you’re scared, do it anyway. And remember: just as no two people are the same, no two adventures will ever be the same, so seek out your adventure, not someone else’s.
Abigail E. Anderson is a mother, wife, blogger, and motivator, who is constantly learning new ways to enrich her life through change. She is currently working on her first novel. To learn more about change, find out more about her story, or to simply connect with another adventurer, visit ChangedbyChange.com.