With the exception of one year of college and a few months of marriage spent two states away, I’ve lived in the same rural community my entire life. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to experience life outside of the little town I grew up in—maybe it’s because I’m naive to the rest of the world, or ungrateful, or too stubborn to see the advantages of living where I was born—but all I’ve ever wanted is to leave this place.
All I’ve ever wanted is to live somewhere that everybody in town doesn’t already know my last name. All I’ve ever wanted is to explore new places and meet new people. All I’ve ever wanted is a really big, exciting, exotic adventure—away from here. But the longer we live here, and the better I learn to embrace just how little control I have over circumstances in our lives (including, but not limited to, where we live)—the more I appreciate and seek out what Jordan likes to call “microadventures”.
For us, a microadventure is just what it sounds like: an adventure—that is something new, different or unexpected—on the micro level. Breakfast at a new cafe downtown is a microadventure. Camping under the stars in our front yard is a microadventure. Driving down a road we’ve never been on is a microadventure. This summer, I wrote down a list of microadventures we wanted to do together (go to a rodeo, see the new Bourne movie in theaters, soak in one of Oregon’s natural hot springs, etcetera) and week by week, in no particular order, we’ve been crossing items off of my list.
The Oregon State Fair was microadventure #3 on that list.
Neither of us had been before and we had rather grand expectations. It didn’t live up to our lofty standards, but it did provide all of the fair essentials: homemade art exhibits, 4-H animals and exceptional hand-dipped corndogs (as remarked by Jordan, the gas station corndog connoisseur.) We spent the night before at a KOA cabin with friends, playing mini golf and roasting hotdogs, and the morning after with more friends, eating pancakes and drinking coffee. The whole weekend was a reminder to me that I can be thankful: thankful for friends with a sense of humor and a passion for fried food equal to our own. Thankful for campfires to sit around at night, wooly-headed sheep to pet, lively conversations and new memories. Thankful, especially, for the idea behind microadventures: that new and fun things can be found wherever you are, whatever you do, and that life holds so much good. All I’ve ever wanted is to leave the town I live in, to move on with my life—I spend too much time daydreaming about living in Canada or Montana or Maui, and I know it. But this Thursday? I want to remind myself:
I’m thankful for the place I’m in.
(P.S. Prepare yourself for WAY too many photos of chickens and horses and sheep.)