Thursday, June 20, 2013

A lesson in adaptability

I hadn't realized how predictable and routine my daily life has become until we ventured out to the east coast for vacation.

A typical day at home would result in me working out, eating breakfast and jumping into my writing.  An hour or two later,  I may take a shower, eat some lunch, but the rest of the day is usually spent writing. Since I work out of my house, I rarely leave my house during the day. Occasionally I may drive, anywhere from 2-10 miles away (that takes literally 2 to 10 minutes) to take some photos or interview subjects for articles.  

Then in the late afternoon II walk the dog and head out in my car again to run some errands around town. The furthest I drive is about five miles where I park my car in a giant parking lot and walk less than 100 yards into a grocery store or big box store.  Then I drive my car a maximum of five miles back home, pull in the garage and I'm usually home for the evening.

At night I may walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise, but that's about the extent of my daily walking.

In comparison, the folks who live in the Washington D.C. area have a a much different daily lifestyle.  

People walk everywhere...24/7.  There's plenty of cars on the streets, but a huge amount of people use their feet as their primary mode of transportation.  If they aren't walking, they are taking the metro rail or bus to locations throughout the city.  You can imagine how much of "a fish out of water" I felt when we arrived in D.C.

But as they say...while in I took my first metro rail ride.
I must admit that just the entrance to the subway was intimidating.  It was easily a three story descent via an escalator into the subway station.  As I stood precariously on my step, I couldn't help but think about how easily it would be to accidentally tumble forward and down into the subway abyss.  But I managed to keep my balance along with the 50 or so other people descending with me.

At the metro ticket machines, we spent about 10 minutes dissecting every detail of the directions.  Eventually after absorbing it all, we entered our money and printed out our tickets.

We descended down another escalator to the platform for our train as we stood next to a few dozen others listening to iPods or reading a book as they waited. (Of course I couldn't resist striking up a conversation with some random woman waiting to board)

The train arrived and quickly everyone boarded.  That's one thing I picked up on - you better get on fast because the train doesn't wait long before the doors shut and it's on its way.

The train stopped twice before we reached our final stop.  We exited the train and rode up another steep escalator as we emerged onto the street front where we joined a mass of people walking along the street.

As with most new experiences, it was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience because we had never done this before.  Every step of the way was something new to learn.

The whole experience made me realize how routine my own life at home has become, and actually, how very glad I was to be thrown out of my comfort zone.  Although it made me feel somewhat uncomfortable at the time not knowing if I was boarding the right train, paying the correct amount for a ticket or getting off at the right stop, I think it's good to experience that uncertainty and anxiety.

Life is never going to have a perfect roadmap to follow, and you can rest assured that there will be detours to consider and potholes to maneuver around along the way.  Getting too comfortable and set in your ways and being afraid of change is no way to live life.  Change occurs every day and you better be prepared to adapt.  

I don't ever want to be one of those people who is so fearful to try a new experience or learn something new that they pass up  a new opportunity or let life pass them by as they sit in their safe and predictable world.

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