1. Willing to take risks or to try out new methods, ideas, or experiences.2. Involving new ideas or methods.
If you're American (naturalized or otherwise) and not of Native American descent, you come from immigrant stock. That is a inarguable fact. (No, this is not an immigration post, so just bear with me, please!) We are a new country populated with people who came here from somewhere else; our people were adventurous.
Sometime, from somewhere, your people had the gumption to leave Ireland or England or Germany or Indonesia or Africa or Italy or Greece or some other country for the unknown (also known as America). Some of them gave up everything to come here, right down to their family name. Depending upon when in our history they embarked on their journey, they left family they knew they would never see or talk to again. Letters would be few and far between. They got on ships with faith, hope, and determination and no real idea of what they'd be facing at the other end. They were willing to risk virtually everything with no real assurance that they'd succeed. Can you even imagine?
Even in recent times, immigration has been a constant in our nation--adventurers still exist. Asian families coming from war-torn countries, struggling to find success in our country. European families fleeing oppressive governments, following the promise of democracy. Families from Latin and South America searching for economic stability.
Even my adorable sister-in-law left Indonesia more than ten years ago to live in the U.S. She left her family and friends behind to start a new life in the US, one in which she ended up meeting and marrying my brother. I wonder if her loved ones criticized her decision to move to the U.S.
I've been thinking a lot about such things over that past eight months. Many people have criticized Superman and me for making the decision we did we let them know Superman would be living overseas. We are deliberately separating our family as he pursues this opportunity to improve his professional credentials, making him more employable, and, therefore, improving our family's stability. We understand this decision wouldn't be doable for many families (or many couples), but for us, for now, it works.
But the criticism of our decision gave me pause. What are we doing that is so terrible, so alien? Obviously, we don't think we're doing anything bad. In fact, I think what we're doing is in our DNA; we're doing what our ancestors did. (Did you know that one of my direct ancestors is said to have been the first white man to see Yellowstone Falls?) Our ancestors picked up and left their homes to create lives that were far from the familiar. They stepped off the traditional path in pursuit of something different. Sometimes, the men would go ahead and begin the makings of a rudimentary home before sending for their families. Sometimes, the entire family would go at once. It is what our people have always done. Yet, we're perceived as doing something so unusual.
If you live anywhere in the western part of the U.S., someone in your family was an adventurer or you wouldn't be here. This land was settled just a few generations ago: First the Spaniards, the The Gold Rush brought men flocking to California and their women followed them. The city I live in now was incorporated in 1881, years after being settled by Canadian trappers. Only 130 years ago. Think about that...we're talking about DNA from great-grandparents and grandparents. These were very spunky people. Not very far back at all.
We don't talk about our ancestors as heroes or adventurers or consumed with wanderlust. We've taken our spunky forebears for granted and forgotten that we all have a bit of the unusual running through our veins. We strangle ourselves with conformity and escape with extreme sports, addictions, and consumption.
I guess Superman and I still think of ourselves as spunky and our raising our children to not be afraid to forge their own paths. Yes, this separation has been challenging, but it just doesn't seem so horrible to our family. Dare I say? It feels like an adventure.
So, I'll put it to you. Are we still a spunky people or is wanderlust now a recessive trait? Maybe you have it, feel it, but have found more socially acceptable ways to express that wanderlust like, say, extreme sports? I'd love to know what you're thoughts are.