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Try something new

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- I was a chubby kid. I had tree trunk legs and a thick waist! Losing weight has always been a challenge and something I've begrudgingly worked hard at my whole life.

I thank the Air Force for enforcing my fitness level, but it has never come easy to me. I prefer chips and salsa to an hour at the gym and I would rather watch a sport than play one. Nevertheless, I score "excellent" my fitness assessments. Granted, that's more out of a desire to only test once a year than to excel, to be honest. Not only do I struggle with my weight, I hate to run. I'm more oxen-like than gazelle-like. The trudge/shuffle/plod thing that I consider jogging is hard work. It's uncomfortable and I just don't like it.

Last week I ran a half marathon. You may be asking yourself why in the world I would run a half marathon that's more than 13 miles if I just wrote 138 words about how much I don't like exercising. The answer is simple - I needed to try something new. Like most of you, I am a creature of habit.

My rule for living, until recently, was simple - I know what I like and I stick to what I know. That was until a co-worker asked me one day what I did for fun. It was at that moment I realized that I didn't ever really have fun. I did enjoyable things, things that I knew I already liked. Those things provided pleasure, but I realized I hadn't had fun in quite a while. I hadn't gone and done something new in so long that I couldn't even tell her the last time I'd really had a blast. Shame on me.

Humans have an amazing capacity for growth, enlightenment and personal insight, but we seem to hold ourselves back from achieving these things by staying in our little bubbles of comfort and habit. What's out there that we're missing out on? The opportunities to make friends, build connections, increase knowledge and enjoy life are endless, if we go out and make it happen. I will be the first to admit that I was not making it happen.

One simple question: "What do you do for fun?" 

This question changed my life. If she asked me that same question today, I'd reply that I try new things.

Six short months ago I hadn't done anything new in years. These days I do new things all the time, including the half marathon last week. Opportunities for awesomeness, happiness and fun abound. You just have to reach out and snatch them up! Take some risk and try something new. If there's no risk, there's no reward. In the words of the great Helen Keller, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."

Go have an adventure.