Ten years ago, my description of “roughing it” would consist of a hotel without a hot tub. Similarly, my idea of the “outdoors” was limited to backyard barbecues and days at the beach. Fast forward to today, I love the outdoors and spend a significant amount of time enjoying nature in all its wonder and through all seasons. What caused such a monumental shift? It is really quite simple. Someone in my life introduced and exposed me to something outside of my comfort zone. Not an easy task when presented with an anxious, fearful City Chic. Lucky for me, I ran across a patient guy who was up for the challenge.
I always craved the outdoors. Sunshine and fresh air are a magical combination for increasing my mood and overall well-being. Raised by loving people who do not camp, hunt, fish, etc. I was not exposed to nature outside of my neighborhood. In my twenties, I came across people who liked to canoe and ski, but I could not move myself out of my comfort zone. I was happy to stay safely in the familiar. Then I met my husband.
Our first date was about a week before the rifle season of deer hunting. He told me about his family’s property and that hunting was a part of his life since the age of 4. My first thoughts, “That’s nice. You do your thing. I’ll see you when you get back.” As the snow began to fall, I found out snowmobiling was also a favorite past time. Once again, my thoughts, “That’s nice. I don’t do cold. See you when you get back.” We come to summer and camping comes up for discussion. I’ve never done it. I’ve never really had any interest in trying it. He loves it! At this point, I love him, so I decide I will give it a try. I can be brave and try something new. So we plan our first camping trip.
I can say without a doubt no human being has ever agonized over the details of a camping trip in all of history. My husband saw this trip as his one chance to win me over. All future camping trips were relying on the success of these 3 little days. No pressure or anything. What I found after this short trip is I loved being outdoors. I adored the “time warp” I entered when we landed at the campsite. Hours flew by with little notice. Days and nights were full of fun, fresh air, and wonderful company. I was hooked!
Summer moves to Fall and hunting season comes upon us. I had no interest in hunting, but I wanted to be outdoors. So I spent that first Fall hiking along. What I found – peace. The woods of Northern Michigan hold an overwhelming feeling of peace. Being unplugged from everything, enjoying only the sights and sounds of nature brings me closer to God.
A natural evolution took place as the years passed. First, I started target shooting with my husband. Next, I found archery. There is something about the focus and flight of an arrow that is magical. Before I knew it, I moved on from targets and started sitting in a deer blind with my husband. Now we hunt together and separately, as well as with our oldest daughter. My time spent in the woods is priceless. I look forward to the hours spent in the woods regardless of the results of my hunting conquests. The process is so much more important than the result.
Fall moved into Winter and with it snowmobile season. I HATE the cold! The cold makes my body hurt and I want nothing to do with it. As you can guess, this made my snowmobile fanatic husband very sad. Much like our first camping expedition, he began researching all the ways to keep me warm. He is a very thorough guy and figures he can find a solution to just about any problem. So with the aid of amazing gear to keep me warm, we started snowmobiling together. I road on the back of his sled and wanted nothing to do with driving in any capacity.
As time progressed, he pushed a little for me to “try” driving. He reminded me it is colder riding on the back. Enter panic-stricken driving 101, where I drive around the yard terrified of running into a tree. He has a way of pushing me out of my comfort zone without me realizing it. Suddenly things stop being scary and starts to be something we just do. Now we are a happy trail of sledders roaming the trails of Northern Michigan. My husband rides with a child sitting behind him, pulling a snowcoach with another child inside. Our oldest drives a sled behind him and I anchor the line on my own sled. We are a sight to see and often have people photographing us as we go. Never in a million years did I think I would enjoy Winter in any capacity. Funny how life evolves and perspectives change.
The New Normal….
With all of the change in the past decade, it is no wonder I describe our life as Controlled Chaos. My evolution from City Chic to Country Girl taught me a few important things. First, put aside fear and instead see adventure. It is not necessary to love everything, but it is impossible to know if you never try. Second, staying in your comfort zone may keep you from discovering new passions. I agree being comfortable is optimal, but in the process of stretching out of that zone, we can make new discoveries that bring us new comfort. Finally, finding shared passions build stronger relationships. Whatever those passions may be, the act of sharing them with the ones you love make memories and bonds that last a lifetime. I cannot imagine the picture of our life together had I stuck to my “See you when you get back” mantra. Our lives are definitely richer for our adventures together.
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