Last weekend, my boyfriend taught me how to snowmobile and how to ice fish… two things I absolutely never thought I would do. I got to help hand-drill a fishing hole through a foot and a half of ice, hook my own minnow, and reel in a tip up (even though the fish managed to get away after taking said minnow in the weeds). I clocked 70 on a snowmobile across the same ice-covered lake and managed (after a few tries) to control speed with my non-dominant hand and turn while moving. We visited the Mall of America and I met a ton of important people for the first time… it was definitely a weekend of firsts. I stepped pretty far out of my comfort zone (I mean, come on. A vegetarian hooking a minnow onto a fishing line??) and had some incredibly fun experiences that I can’t wait to repeat with a pretty cool guy.

I’ve definitely found my adventurous side over the past year, and I’ve taken in a lot of unexpected experiences that I never would have dreamed of even six months ago. I used to really value comfort and routine, and to a degree I still do… but I’m learning how to make room for those unexpected new things that are totally unlike anything I’m comfortable with (yet). Doing something new can be a little scary, but I’ve found that the more I try out those new things, the more I learn about myself. Plus, a lot of those things end up being something fun that I can’t wait to do again– next time we go ice fishing, I’m hoping to actually catch something!

These past few months, I have eased into a relationship that has taught me how to balance being with myself while being with another person. I have found a best friend as well as a boyfriend, and found it in someone who I can curl up against and watch Family Feud reruns with and someone who will inspire me to jump out of my comfort zone and get in touch with my northern Wisconsin “redneck” side… someone who reads my blog every week and always has time for a shared cup of tea. I’ve found someone excited to share himself with me and excited to share me with the important people in his life, and for the first time that I can remember, I have found balance.

As I have strengthened my relationship with myself, I haven’t had to look for all the other pieces I was always searching for to make my life exactly how I pictured it… they have found me as I’ve put out the confidence and joy that comes from being happy with who I am. I think it’s probably a combination of that happiness, the right people, and probably a sprinkle (or two) of luck that’s gotten me to where I am now… but I’m glad I’m here. I thought I had everything planned out and perfectly positioned, but sometimes those plans go out the window and you’ve got to start again. I am so glad my plans changed, because where I am now, I am more me than I was.

If you had told me a year ago that I was going to be excited about something like ice fishing, I would have laughed in your face… but if you had told me how much more whole I was going to feel, and how nice it was to re-imagine the future I had laid out for myself, I probably would have gone out and bought the fishing pole myself. I used to think that the right kind of relationship would make me the right kind of girl, but what I’ve learned now is that by being the right kind of girl for myself, I have found the right kinds of people and relationships. I have found someone who walks beside me as an equal instead of being led by someone five steps ahead. I have found comfort in the exhilarating discomfort of things that are new and unfamiliar, and I’ve had time to be myself before finding someone I want to share that self with. I am learning to experience the old and the new full-force, so bring on the new experiences, big and small, because I can’t wait to see what they have in store.

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