When I was young, I used to dream of going to exotic places. And I did.

I studied abroad in Europe for eight months.

That experience made me want to live in a walkable American city.

New York scared me a bit, so I moved to Chicago. I explored much of it as I lived there for 14 years.

As my 30th birthday approached and I lived and worked in a highrise, I dreamed of being in a small narrow boat going down a river through Asian mountains. And, thanks to my generous mother, the two of us went to Thailand and had exactly the experience I dreamed about.

Now that I’m older and have moved to Tennessee, my exploration is different.
It’s smaller in scope but every bit as meaningful—and that reality has totally surprised me.

My husband and I enjoy exploring unique small towns
And, we are making our way to all 56 of the Tennessee state parks, along with numerous natural areas, and city parks.

We are even excited to explore the same city or state park. Every time we just take a walk in the park, our eyes feast on different details, especially in each of the four seasons. We take in different light coming through the trees from the sun or clouds, we see different plant life and different sounds of the birds are heard, different water levels and temperatures, much can be different. It can be fun to actually look for the difference in the details.

The same is true in relationships. I’ve now been married for seven years. I’m amazed at how much more I continue to learn about my husband, as I’m interested in the details. I hear about his memories, some of which I didn’t know about, and he hears about experiences of mine he wasn’t aware of. The same can be said about friends. We only have so much time to talk each time we are together, and there is always more to learn about their pasts, what they are dealing with now, and their dreams for the future.

I’ve learned that to explore is less about where we are but about being observant, and looking for and embracing the specialness of the different.

How are you exploring today?

If you are struggling to write under stress, you are
not alone!


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