CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I am not a fearful person, but neither am I brave. I am tough. I'll give myself that. Maybe even a little bit hardened. But brave? Not so much.
The changes in my life that began last summer were unexpected, but were they entirely unwanted? Hadn't I been sort of longing for a bit of adventure?
No. Actually, I hadn't. I was fairly content with my ordinary life, my predictable routine. I can't say I was happy, but I was trying my damnedest to bloom where I'd been planted. I even had the next 40 or so years pretty much plotted out. Was comfortably familiar with the road I was on.
But somehow, I ended up on a completely different patch of ground. Some of the landmarks stayed the same, but the horizon looks nothing like it did before.
Once upon a time, the Gazette's Doug Imbrogno suggested I try stepping out of my comfort zone every once in a while. He encouraged me to deliberately take on new experiences because those experiences would expand my little world, would give me more to write about than just my parenting and animal tales.
His advice seemed lightly given -- a passing thought shared -- yet it's something I've revisited many times since.
It isn't easy for a routine junkie like me to step outside of her comfort zone, but I've learned I can shove myself out every now and again. And I've been making a point of doing that lately.
For instance, I've always loved motorcycles, but only from afar. I was enchanted by the freedom they represented, the implied rebellion. Still, the idea of traveling that way -- so unprotected -- was simply too scary for me. I'm a wildly accident-prone person as it is. Putting me on a motorcycle seemed too big a temptation for fate.