Sunday, January 16, 2011


Had just my big girl with me the other night - the other two were on a big sleepover at Grandma's. We had a boring school-type meeting to attend, but she was thrilled to pieces to have her mom to herself for the evening.

We parked across the street from Chinese Food / Japanese Sushi Restaurant. Seriously: if it had another name I never saw it. Emerging from the meeting, her dad met us there and she was insistent that we should all go to dinner at Chinese Food/Japanese Sushi Restaurant.

Really sweetie? we said. Wouldn't you rather go to PF Chang's just a few blocks down? You know, one that you've been to before?

NO, she quietly insisted. I really really really want to try THIS ONE.

In an instant, I heard it all: two tired parents, asking wearily if they couldn't go somewhere we knew, somewhere 'safe', worth our hard-earned dollars. At the same time I heard an eight year old who hasn't had the adventure worn out of her - a little girl who is curious about absolutely everything, including new places to eat. Who has faith that things might just turn out perfectly, at any given moment. (Even if her hopes are repeatedly dashed by the prosaic existence that is suburban life.)

Under my breath, I said to my husband (who, in his day, has found more adventures for us than is even fit to print) - sweetie. when is the last time you had an adventure? This man, who loves us Nilsen ladies in a very big way, far more than he hates Chinese food, chuckled, and said - great. C'mon. Let's eat over there.

Chopsticks 101

So I started thinking about adventure. The willingness to look past the uncertainty, to go beyond the safe. I am way too prone to stay where things are safe. My husband has always been my adventurer, taking me out to the edges of 'usual' and saying but what if we went over there instead? So when I heard him resist, heard him wonder if we wouldn't like to just find a restaurant we knew about, I realized even the most curious of souls can be worn out by commutes, deadlines, plumbing, phone bills. By the life more ordinary.

Then, inevitably, my thoughts turned to writing. Always back to the writing. I thought about how creative effort is an adventure - taking you to places you never knew about, to places that make you feel uncomfortable, unsteady, but also these places are the truest parts of you that are so much a part of your being they are hard to see.

It's time for me to adventure again. It's time for me to ignore the street signs that tell me I shouldn't travel those roads, to curiously turn corners in confidence that it is the way forward, to actively find new places.

Part of the adventure is knowing I might not have the right gear, the right maps, or even a good sense of direction. This poor little un-designed blog is testament to that. We'll figure it out along the way, shall we?


Jer said...

Right on, K. No point in building "Steady" and sailing her on land, right?

Erica said...

So true! A great lesson from your little big girl. Maybe the name of the restaurant helped her. She knew exactly where she was going.

katdish said...

I've missed your writing and I loved this inspirational post.

And if you want to move to WordPress, I know some people...

David Hughson said...

Crossing the unknown sea doesn't ever end. At least I hope not. Discomfort is not always a bad place to be. "...these places are the truest parts of you". Love that thought K

Practically Spent said...

I have gotten stuck in a rut since having children. Part of my issue is remaining cautious to maintain safety for them....which is my utmost concern. But somehow, unfortunately, the "Let's Do It!!" girl vanished. Hitting 40 was a real wake-up. I'm sick of being bored. Baby steps to crawling out from my safety zone.

carin said...

C is so awesome. i'm well-known for requesting to eat at restaurants that turn out to be awful, but hey, at least i now know!

i hope she never loses that curiosity

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