MississippiRiver

For the first 19 years of my life, I thought all I wanted in life was some adventure and some fame, or at least some recognition. For as long as I can remember, my biggest fear was being bored in life. As a kid living in a midwestern suburb, I would sit out on my family’s front porch swing and think about all of the places I could go when I got older. I spent hours each day writing different storylines for myself. Sometime I would go on adventures in London, sometimes in California, and sometimes on some island out in the Pacific. In my childhood imagination, I always went on these adventures alone. It never occurred to my young mind that anything I imagined doing would be more fun with a companion.

As I got older, the adventures in my head became both more detailed and down to earth. I dreamed of writing music and playing it all over the country, from the south, to New England to the midwest to the northwest. I practiced my guitar and tried to find some friends who dreamed of the same adventure. I had started to realize that I had to include at least a few people in my adventures, but I still thought of myself as an autonomous individual. These people who wanted to play music with me would be there when there was a crowd to impress, but other than that, I would be my own solitary pillar. I would go have my own adventures in my free time. Those around me would come and go and it wouldn’t matter because all I needed was my adventures and myself.

I set off on my first adventure at 17 when I moved 8 hours away from the only town I had ever lived in to go to music school. I was young and restless and wanted to run away. I had the chance to start over, and I chose to be the person that loved people. When I wasn’t in class my friends were my priority. I felt most at home laughing under the night lights with people I hadn’t even known existed 6 months before. But every day I still walked along the riverbank of my solitary dreams.

Until one day I didn’t take my walk alone. This weird kid from Pennsylvania with frosty blue eyes offered to walk with me and keep me company in the December cold. At the time I didn’t think too much of it because I was bored and just wanted some company. Christmas came and went and he was the only person I bothered to talk to when I was home. As the chill faded from the air he went with me on more and more of my once solitary walks. He was as smart as I ever wanted to be and let me talk about all the ideas I had kept to myself my whole life, and I felt like a river had burst through a dam.

I caught myself dreaming different dreams one day. Suddenly I wasn’t alone wandering some cobbled street on a different continent. I could look over and see my weird kid from Pennsylvania smiling back at me. Or more like contorting his face to try and make me laugh. Whenever I tried to imagine all of the plans I had made before for my life, they didn’t have the same luster. I realized it was because I didn’t want to head out and take on life alone.

I started to dream entirely new dreams. In these dreams I had a best friend always there with me, and I watched him make faces to make little kids with frosty blue eyes laugh. All I ever saw in my day dreams was this little family having adventures together. I didn’t watch these scenes play out as I always did before, as a spectator, but I saw it through my own eyes, and felt my heart pulled as if this were all real. All the dreams full of recognition and fame and adventure were gone, replaced by all I had ever really wanted. I wanted to be loved and to be able to love. My thirst for adventure has faded, replaced with a longing for home, a home that I have already wandered into.

Becky, 20
Springboro, OH
#storyofchange

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