Chances, we should take ’em.

When I landed in South Africa, in 2006, I was a very naïve, wide-eyed, and extremely jet-lagged 17-year-old girl. I remember lying in bed on my second night there, crying. Nearly a year, so far away from home, felt extremely daunting. I silently wished away time and cursed myself for jumping so far out of my comfort zone.

This attitude did not last very long when I quickly realized how blessed I was and just how fast time flies. Before I knew it, 3 months had passed and I was moving in with my second host family. It felt again like I was leaving home. Then, another 3 months later, I was moving in with my 3rd and final family. Each of my families brought me in to their homes as one of their own. Asking only that I be an active member of the family in return. I was known, snuggled, loved and introduced to their friends and family as their “American daughter.” My moms made me my favorite meals, my sisters and I sat up for hours talking about boys, my brothers wrestled with me, and my dads each took the time to take me exploring.

The year was gone before I knew it. When it came time to fly back to the States, I now had the tearful task of saying goodbye to not one, but three families. I could not have asked for a more adventurous, genuine, unforgettable time. South Africa still holds a very large piece of my heart.

Last week, as I had just finished dinner with the family I am living with in Germany, I felt a sudden pang of sadness. This time, not because I was scared and sad to be away from home for another year, but because I knew how quickly it would pass. I had a flash-forward to next fall, when I would be once again packing up all my belongings and ruefully hugging loved ones goodbye.

Realizing just how quickly time flies is a gift. It is a priceless gift of mindfulness, genuine relationships and purposeful exploration. In my journey from South Africa to Germany, and a few places in between, I have learned the key to life and adventure is not more time. It is taking the time we have more seriously, and doing more with it. Each day has a million excuses and fewer tomorrows. So quit stalling and wishing away time. Jump out of your comfort zone, try, do, explore, and don’t follow your dreams, tackle them.

*Title from my favorite song by

4 thoughts on “Chances, we should take ’em.

  1. you can’t buy it, only treasure it and use it, – Time. Happiness, learning and no regrets. It is fun to watch your journey (s) as you are a young chicka, and also comforting that you find families as you go and are happy. It makes going our ability to work, go home each day and families pretty special too ~ be blessed my dear, love you.


  2. I am so happy for you that you have found mindfulness. There is only now, dwelling on the past or wishing for the future is only distracting from the now. The most valuable virtue is the ability to be present. To fully experience every moment is enlightenment. You are a powerful positive influence on so many lives, on a global scale! Do not be sad that at some point it will end because an end is really just a new beggining! Imagine and plan for what comes next but stay present. I am so glad to call you a friend Keatyn! So proud of your growing!


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