To Live Would Be an Awfully Big Adventure
“I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.” Clocks and watches, J.M. Barrie tells us we’re obsessed with time. Sometimes we take time and many blessings for granted. Peter Pan was a childhood hero; I too wanted to have adventures, to never die and to never grow up. As I’ve matured, I’ve found treasures; experiences that teach more than any textbook can.
Years ago, I traveled to the Philippines. It was astonishingly different to be in a third world country. To us they have nothing. They’re sick, poor and homeless. Kids and adults knock on people’s windshields asking for coins. Children work to feed themselves and their families. A little girl asked for my empty bottle to get money from recycling. These people cherish every second because they have to. It was unsettling to think that here I am, so fortunate; when there are so many I could share my wealth with. But I found that they had their own share of wealth. In reality these people were incredibly happy. Their eyes smiled despite poor conditions. That twinkle in their eye, their hope, was my second star to the right. To see that they were content, satisfied even, to have what they did, was humbling.
My parents always expected I’d become a nurse and follow in their footsteps; all my life I said no, it takes too long, it’s too much work. After visiting the Philippines I came to see things differently. Now I know that Peter Pan wasn’t the hero. It was Wendy all along. Wendy started off young and green, but she was the one that led them home to take care of the lost boys. She grew up to make her family happy, all the while keeping the knowledge and heart of a child that still believed in Peter Pan. Now I stand where Wendy had and embark on the same path. I choose nursing so that not only will I be helping people in need, I’ll be a Wendy in patients’ lives, part of their journey, their adventure. Who says nurses aren’t adventurers? When I grow up I’ll raise my own family. I hope one day my children pick the right paths, that they be little Peter Pans, but grow up to be beautiful Wendys.
Life is an adventure. It’s what one takes from their adventures that count. Peter was mistaken. Growing up is the biggest adventure of all. It takes more than faith, trust and pixie dust. The joy of growing up is watching others’ bliss, to be a part of their adventure, to keep learning, or loving or just living. Growing up doesn’t mean losing time; it means gaining knowledge, courage and sweet memories. The beauty of youth is that it is never really lost; there are always new things to discover. Clocks tick on, crocodiles will chomp, I’ll walk in my big girl shoes and sleep soundly with the nightlight still on.