The only thing that it constant is change
For my entire life I have had one foot in the "hey, throw it at me...change and adventure are awesome" mode and one foot in the "oh dear god, I would love to have an even keeled, basic plan for the next year" mode. Being raised primarily by a mom who struggled to keep us afloat financially because she was trying to better herself, not knowing if we'd make ends meet each month, I craved structure. It was my safety blanket in a way. I knew if I had structure and the same daily routine, everything would work out.
Sometime in my early teens, however, I got the adventure bug. I wanted to explore new places (always coming back to my "safety blanket" mind you) and I wanted to meet people with different backgrounds than me. Essentially, I wanted the world to be my text book. Screw learning about geography and sociology on page—I wanted to learn about it in a much more tactile way.
My first real experience of this, outside of riding into unknown territory sans map, was through a trip to France in high school and multiple BWCA and Montana backpacking trips with Outward Bound and the Kekekabic Trail Club. It was through these outings I learned my fears, my strengths, my weaknesses and my desires.
Everything after high school became an adventure. I did a several month solo road trip out west, I went to college—and quit college, I went to technical school, I worked at numerous outdoor stores, I became certified as a personal trainer, I headed to the mountains or BWCA as much as I possibly could, I planned and dreamed of bigger and better trips, I met my now husband on a whim and traveled to Mexico and Central America for a couple months for our first date, I moved around the country and traveled abroad with my husband and I grew roots in a place I never thought I would...Madison, Wisconsin. The roots took hold, I made close bike loving friends I never had while moving from state to state, we bought a house, fell in love with the neighborhood and our neighbors and got into one heck of a routine.
Years went by. My challenges and adventures became almost solely bike related—a tour here, a gravel race there. Change became to mean something completely different to me. I saw change in the smallest things—like the time each flower opened in my yard from year to year and which birds came back to my yard and which may have moved on or perished. My world became a small radius. I still dreamed of travel, and sometimes I made it happen, but it was nothing like before. And yet, I wasn't dissatisfied.
This year however, will be the year of change for me. I am in the middle of a divorce (with my best friend who will continue to be such), I am about to close on a condo and put our house, in the best neighborhood in the world, up for sale, I am about to obtain a roommate—something I haven't had since I was 22 years old, and I'm about to figure out who the hell I am and who I want to be.
There are so many questions hanging out there at this moment. And I'll be honest, it's freaking me out a bit. Thankfully I can hold onto two things...my friends and my bikes. These two things have gotten me through some pretty sketchy times in the past and I assume they will do so in the upcoming year.
I have made plans, although maybe not as concrete as I'd like, to do the Dairy Roubaix, Almanzo, Gravel Metric, Dairyland Dare and Door County Century. If Axletree puts on their other gravel events, I'm sure I'll partake. There may even be a mini bike tour out to Decorah, Iowa for a brief visit to Toppling Goliath Brewery. Who knows really. Things will fall into place, as they always do. Until then, I just have to keep the rubber side down and the wind (mostly) at my back.