Case in point:
The first picture, obviously, is Day 1 - back to the grind! Don't I look like I'm miserable? I actually was pitting out my shirt because it was an unbearably hot day, but I did have fun being back in the class!
The second picture was taken on Saturday when I participated in my first ever "Mud Run"! Somehow, hanging out with a random group of really funny people and running (and crawling) through mud pits seemed like the perfect antidote to the whole "I'm-an-adult-thing". I will admit that I was nervous before the race - there seemed to be a LOT of unknowns. I was meeting up with people whom I didn't really know, so would it/I be awkward? Would I suddenly try to be competitive and be a jerk? Would I twist an ankle or tweak my knee as I scaled an 'obstacle' or would I just get stuck in the mud?
Michael, my trusty photographer, accompanied me, which went above and beyond the usual call of duty, but he's a winner like that. When we arrived at Irvine Lake, thunder and lightening greeted us - SERIOUSLY!? I could not believe it! Rain in September in Southern CA?! I figured that I'd be getting wet and muddy at any rate, so what did it matter, as long as the lightening let up.
Once our team ("We Got the Runs" - nice name!) started, the race was a blast! There is something joyful and childlike about running around, jumping over walls and crawling in mud. By the end, however, I was more than ready to exit the mud and shower off!
On our way back to LA, we stopped at Jerry's Wood-Fired Dogs, a hotdog place in Orange County. That was a serendipitous discovery - as we were driving around strip mall hell, we luckily spotted a sign and it piqued our interest. A Chicago-style hotdog, a sausage and an order of fries later (Michael and I split everything), I was in a comatose state.
It must have been because of that comatose state that I fell completely asleep during the drive home and Michael ended up missing an exit and driving almost to LAX! I woke up to signs pointing to Redondo Beach rather than Pasadena.
Again, that was also a new and different way to get back to Pasadena (cough, cough)!
Maybe I won't always embrace the new and unknown, but there is something exhilarating about meeting a challenge head-on. Whether it is a new start to the year, meeting new people, or pushing myself physically, getting out of my comfort zone keeps me sharp and makes life more interesting. And while there are plenty of times when I'll opt for the familiar, I do know that I *need* to step out and greet the "known unknowsn" (thank you, Donald Rumsfeld) with open arms.
I will, however, happily return to the comfort of a shower (or two)!