This spring break, I'm not soaking up the sun in Florida, or exploring Atlanta with my friends. Instead, I've decided to spend my week sleeping and relaxing at home with my family.
Likewise, this summer, I won't be snagging an internship, or travelling around Europe. I will be serving as a camp counselor at a camp half an hour away from my hometown, and then will be with my family on my off-time.
I made the decision to stay near to home for both holidays for a simple self-care reason: much needed rest. After spending a sleep-deprived week slogging over three papers, an exam and a homework assignment, I knew that the only place that I could truly recharge for the next half of the semester was back at my house. Furthermore, last summer was one of the craziest summers I have ever experienced - I graduated from high school, went to Brussels with friends, moved across the ocean to America, visited my brother in Oregon and transitioned to both college life and life in a part of the world I've never been in. Taking a moment to breathe after such a whirlwind of activity seemed like what was in my best self-interest. Exciting plans for spring and summer can wait. For now, I need a moment to curl up with a good book, my dog and a steaming cup of tea.
Despite this, I've been spending the past few days regretting how much I've chosen security over adventure. I've always valued taking the risky decision. I attend a university across the world from where I grew up. I'm employed by a job that requires me to start work once a week at 6:30am. I even once went to the Duc in a onesie. This all goes to show that I am one to take my chances, try the scary option and live my life to the fullest. And somehow, staying in my parents' house in a small suburban town without a car does not fit this label. Even without so much at glancing at the Snapchat and Instagram stories my friends are posting of them tanning on the beach or touring New York, I feel that my staycations pale in comparison. And so, I'm left thinking that I have wasted the opportunity to do something adventurous, life-changing and memorable with my first year of being an adult.
Yet who is to say that choosing security over adventure means that adventure doesn't factor into my equation? This summer, I will do something I have never done before in a place I have never been with people I have never met. For five weeks, I will lose copious amounts of sleep, play hours and hours of games and – most importantly – change lives. My parents being near the camp I'll be serving at does not change the fact that becoming a camp counselor is a big and bold step in my life. Even this spring break, I have exciting opportunities lined up around the corner.
We're all going out to dinner as a family. We might go into Philadelphia together. My mom will watch in dismay as I buy buckets of clothes and books from the local thrift store. But the activities that I do these breaks don't have to be exciting to be fulfilling. I will bake banana muffins and watch movies with my Mom. I will spend hours reading for fun and make many new jokes with my family. I will eat non-dining food and will drink tea out of actually-clean mugs. This just goes to say that, just because I have chosen to stay at home, doesn't mean that I am bound to weeks of boredom and disappointment.
Even though, this round, I have chosen security over opportunity, I have still been adventurous in being honest and kind to myself. Although choosing security seems like the "weaker" option, it is also the strongest and wisest decision I have made to this point. Adventure may be calling my name, but I acknowledged that I may need a break from all the crazy excitement life has been throwing my way for this past year. Choosing security here is not so much a matter of being scared, but it is judging the situation and bravely choosing what is best for me at this point. And as much as I would like to contest it, spending the summer and spring at home is what is best for my mental health. By boldly listening to myself and saying "no" despite wanting to choose adventure, I can't say that choosing home is a bad decision.
So to all my fellow homebodies who are enviously looking at their Instagram feeds: adventure is still out there. Sure, it may not be in the form or jetting off to an exotic location with friends, but adventure comes in many different forms. You can still find excitement in your very own home, even if it's doing as something as simple as cracking open a new book or cooking up a new recipe. Maybe these activities won't fill you up with the buzz of doing something adventurous, but they will fill you up with warmth and happiness all the same. That summer internship and trip to Paris are patiently waiting for you – another time. For now, you get to spend precious time at home, relaxing and with your family, which can be even more valuable as a beach getaway.