Would you call yourself adventurous? Would you contend that you desire a life marked by significant moments that fill your soul? Are you someone who itches to live a life you only read about in stories? Do you spend every waking moment longing to escape the ordinary?

I’ve been on this adventure for nine years now and I’m about to share with you how you can embark on it, too. Where do you begin?

With a bent-knee and a sizable diamond-ring, if you are lucky. Most likely a knee slightly dirty from all the groveling your companion had to do to get you to agree to be his journey partner.

I’m just joking, of course, as we all know that groveling isn’t all that attractive, and honestly, this journey usually only turns out well for those that willingly embark on it with both an open mind and an open heart.

What are we talking about here?

Marriage, of course—and if you decide to open something else (ahem) then parenthood, too.

Marriage and parenting? An adventure? You question as you chuckle. Not that you disagree with my remark that unions and raising tiny humans are adventures, just that you are not convinced either is an adventure anyone would actually want to take.

Well, it is, for many of us, at least.

I have been on my adventure for 10 years and let me tell you that no romantic, secluded beach, shockingly gorgeous landmark, once-in-a-lifetime daredevil-st‌yle activity or road trip across the country to follow a band would or ever will compare to the adventure that takes place inside my own home. OK . . . and in the aisles of Publix, the five-and-under bin section at Target and outside of Starbucks every Saturday morning.

But, all kidding aside, nothing is more of an adventure than trying to grow as a person while trying to grow with a person while trying to raise a person (or three).

You say you want to be thrilled.

You say you want to be inspired.

You say you long to learn.

You contend that you are missing something that needs to be found.

You remark that you were simply born to wander. And you hold the belief that a long-term relationship and offspring somehow take all of that away from you, immediately zapped from the realm of possibilities for your future.

Well, you are mistaken, and I don’t mean that critically or to be preachy.

If you are a person who is genuinely happy being unmarried, I support you.

If you are a person who is in a committed relationship but doesn’t want to put a ring on it, and neither does your partner, I support you.

If you are a person who has made the decision to get married but not to have kids, I support you.

There are so very many ways to strip our one life on Earth down to what makes us feel alive and to live in that space, as we very well should (and in any way we darn well please).

Still, I want to make one thing very clear to those who are contemplating marriage and children, but fear that one or both would taint or inhibit their shot at life-changing experiences: there is no greater adventure in life than experiencing moments next to the people you love experiencing moments of their own. When that occurs, there is this whole, bigger, ridiculously fantastic adventure you take. You grow, they grow, you grow together and then before you know it, more defining moments appear on the horizon for the both of you.

You see . . . 

Tieing the knot doesn’t tie you to a chair, your home or the state in which you currently reside.

Your new “ball and chain”—though cumbersome to transport—is movable.

Your forever wingman/wingwoman (if you chose the right one) is just that; they have a “wing” because they want to fly with you wherever you want to go.

Your little chiclets, though exhausting while newborns, will bring adventure right to your doorstep, in your home and on your carpet, your feet, your hair and your clothes . . . you get the point.

Your munchkins, as they grow, will have adventures of their own and in your attempt to help them navigate such you will become a part of those.

Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli is quoted as saying, “There is no certainty; there is only adventure.” This so accurately depicts marriage and parenting.

Everything about life with the nuclear family you so courageously curated is uncertain, lending itself to spontaneous adventures—some that will test you and challenge you, some that will provoke you and hurt you, but more often than not many, oh so very many that will fulfill you.

Adventure awaits. How will your experiences look?

It doesn’t matter, so long as you are happy.

Originally published on Red Tricycle

Nicole Merritt

Nicole Merritt is a mother of three and the Owner and Founder of jthreeNMe, an imperfectly authentic peek at real-life marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. jthreeNMe is raw, honest, empowering, inspiring, and entertaining; it’s like chicken soup for those that are exhausted, over-stressed and under-inebriated, yet still utterly happy. Nicole's work has been featured by Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, BLUNTmoms, Thought Catalog, Everyday Family, Motherly & many others. You can follow Nicole at jthreeNMe and on FacebookPinterestInstagram & Twitter!