No one would ever call me a terribly adventurous person. Unlike my mother who wanted to be anywhere but home as a child, I craved order, schedules and plans. I needed to know exactly what I was doing today, tomorrow and five years from now. Ditching my preconceived plans to cook in favor of ordering in was my idea of living on the edge.
To me, being a nomad would probably be a fate worse than death. My current boss never stays in one place for more than a week at a time and I could not imagine doing the same. The four years I spent in college were bad enough in terms of the transience and constant relocation. At every point in my life I was doing long distance with someone, whether it was my best friend, my mom or my boyfriend and I found myself packing a suitcase every couple of months. The homebody in me hated that existence and dreamed of the day I would have a home to call my own and to return to for decades to come.
But then this visa thing happened. In a couple of days, I’m going to find out whether or not the US government will grant me an application to stay in the country and my brain has been on fire. I’ve had nightmares for the last week and the stress of not knowing but almost knowing has given me a migraine. I feel the way I used to feel when we were about to get test scores back except 1000 times worse because at least then I had some sort of gauge as to how I did. Here, it was just chance. Pure chance. My life after August 13 is a dark amorphic mass. And so for the last couple months I’ve been trying to have no expectations or hopes at all. In fact, I really did feel that I’d be equally happy if I didn’t get the visa. I had my Plan B mapped out—I would go to fashion school in the UK (where I’ve never lived before, but have several friends there and have always wanted to try) and in a couple of years I might marry my boyfriend and get a green card. I thought, in terms of the pros and cons of staying, me staying would give me stability but me leaving would give me a challenge. Leaving and starting over is always the more challenging thing, right?
And then it hit me—no. No, it isn’t. The only jobs I’ve only ever gotten up till now had been internships that lasted no longer than three months. Even in college, I was in a quarter system rather than semester. If I hated anything or anyone, I would never have to see them again after 90 days.
It's slowly dawning on me that there are certain challenges you can only experience by staying put. It’s kind of like when one of my girlfriends told me that you actually get better at sex by staying with the same partner, learning together what works for each other, rather than by jumping from person to person. Time is the only thing that will help a tree grow, and using different water on it every day will not make it grow that much faster or slower. I know this seems like an every-idiot-knows-this concept, but for the scaredy cat in me who’s always seen leaving as the hardest part, it took me by surprise to see that sometimes staying would be even harder. To reference the most recent installment of the longest running franchise--in Furious 7, Brian O’Connor began “missing the bullets” after he started a family. He always felt that the adventure was “out there” and that home was boring. But at the end of the movie (after he almost dies 37 times) he returns to his family and realizes, staying with them may be the biggest adventure he’ll ever have.
Those who dare to chase the unknown often deserve our admiration, but sometimes, it is those who have the tenacity to stay who might find the greatest adventures.