comfort zone: a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control (from thefreedictionary.com)
Even though I’ve begun posting to this blog, putting stuff out here on the internet for others to read, dissect, analyze and criticize definitely makes me apprehensive and puts me outside my own comfort zone.
Don’t get me wrong: stepping outside the zone can make life infinitely more interesting. You might decide to take up rock climbing, or hunting (check out my friend Larry’s blog), singing, acting…all sorts of stuff that serve to make you more interesting to others.
Several years ago, I enrolled in the “Basic Rider” course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. I wanted to see if I could operate a motorcycle safely (I could) and if I would enjoy riding motorcycles (I did/do). I had already decided, by the way, that if I couldn’t emphatically answer “yes” to both questions I would just walk away.
Since then, I’ve put over 20,000 miles on my motorcycle. Every ride has been an adventure, even the “routine” ones. I’ve had my share of misadventures (nearly hitting a rather large bull on a country road and winding up in a ditch, for example), but I still get a thrill out of it. It doesn’t matter if I’m riding by myself or with a group of friends or with Yvonne on the back of the bike; it’s still exhilarating. The smells, the quick temperature changes, leaning through the curves, being caught in rainstorms, getting hit in the neck and face by junebugs and dragonflies…
A few years ago, Yvonne and I took a small bag and rode down to the Kemah, Texas area for our anniversary. We rode the bike to a restaurant, then to a movie, and found when we got out that a cold front had blown in, dropping the temperature to the mid 40’s. The wind chill on the ride back to the hotel was about 35 degrees and the wind cut through my gloves and clothes like icy daggers, and I loved every minute of that ride. But I’d never have been able to experience any of that stuff if I hadn’t stepped outside of my comfort zone.
As I write this, my motorcycle is sitting in the garage in need of some carburetor work, and as I remember what it’s like to ride, I remind myself to call the mechanic so I can get it in for service and get back to riding, because, to borrow a phrase from the immortal Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. (If) you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”