Someone asked me recently, “Are you putting your roots down here?”
I almost threw up on the spot. “Absolutely not!” was the first thing out of my mouth, like I was denying a curse or some ridiculous accusation. Me? Putting down my roots? No, just no.
You see, I grew up an adventurer at heart.
I wanted to see more of my neighborhood, my city, the country, and eventually the world. I’m not a homebody – although I do appreciate a warm bed. I grew up wanting to search the world, not looking for anything in particular, but looking for everything at the same time.
I wanted to see more. Even if I love Lake Michigan and our hometown charm, I can’t help but think, “Somewhere out there people are waking up to the mountains, touring The Lourve, biking cross country, and riding elephants.” It might not always be in that order, yet it always makes me jealous. And when these experiences make me jealous, they give me more motivation to do them myself…soon. Putting my roots down, settling down somewhere, it was barely even an option. There’s so much more to see.
It’s not like I haven’t seen the world either, because I have. I’ve taken a train through the Alps, hiked around Italy, gotten tea time in England, spent summers by both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. I’ve lived; my life has not been sheltered. Yet with my eyes exposed to the outside (the midwest) world, I’ve known there’s more out there and the idea of settling down has never been near.
At 23, my friends are all over the place. Some married, some with kids, some still in college, and some just in between. Some put down roots and they’re still alive. They still adventure and breathe fully. And I think that’s okay.
But, hold tight while I roll up my honesty sleeves for a hot second, I think my roots are down. As much as I’ve been nervous of letting go of the searcher in me and being in one place for over 9 months, putting roots down isn’t as scary as I once thought. Putting down roots isn’t bad. It’s not something I should fight against, I know. Little by little, I actually think I’ve been putting down roots and parts of myself all along.
I don’t think I’ll stop being an adventurer anytime soon, or ever stop wondering what else is out there. What I do know is that when it rains for days on end, my mind floods with memories of the UK (and the roots I left there). When the sun seems almost permanently bright, San Diego (and those roots) don’t seem so far away. Hiking in my own city certainly isn’t Italy (or the roots I left there), but Lake Michigan doesn’t seem so bad anymore. It’s all perspective and it’s all a choice.
I’ve put down roots a lot of places, and get this, it didn’t hurt me. Sure, pieces of my heart are scattered, but they have made my heart bigger not broken. The world and it’s adventures have pierced me straight on and I’m okay with it.
But here and now, in this place, my friends, my roots are down.
Still an adventurer at heart // now available in a slightly more vulnerable, rooted addition