If you asked me two years ago if I wanted to try skiing I would've laughed and said, "Nah, that's not for me." Growing up, the perception was that skiing was for rich people. It was an exclusive club I was never invited to. Tahoe changed that. It's a powerful thing to feel like you belong on a mountain in the middle of winter. It's spiritual. It's quiet. It does whatever it wants and you get to participate. You fly. You laugh because you are having the most fun of your life. You fall and get scared. You get back up because fear is no longer something that motivates you to quit. It's a welcomed part of your life that doesn't hold you back from doing anything and everything you've ever wanted to do. And the incredible part is that when you are open to letting skiing seep into your psyche, everything you learn on the mountain directly applies to to rest of your whole life.
When my boss gave me a Wednesday to work from home, my heart said go skiing. Paul had snowboarded on his Tuesday off and came home with a giant grin on his face. No crowds on weekdays. Just me and the mountains.
But all the excuses I use to keep myself inside my comfort zone popped up.
Eh I should sleep in.
What if I get injured?
Isn't skiing by yourself boring?
It took everything I had to tell that dumb idiot inside my head to shut up. I anticipated more excuses in the morning, like you don't feel like loading up your Jeep! It's too early! It's cold! So I loaded my Jeep the night before. One step ahead of my dumb idiot brain.
I wasn't even convinced that I was going to go until I was physically in the Northstar parking lot. With no one on the runs, I started my meditation out loud.
I am a mountain. Turn. I am solid. Turn.
I couldn't believe it was just me, the run and the trees. I started saying it louder and looked around cautiously. No one. Louder. Then it turned into a song. By my second run I was laughing and singing at the top of my lungs like a certified lunatic and surprisingly didn't stop when people showed up. There was an ownership to that mountain that I felt deeply. I belonged there. And I went faster than I had ever skied ever.
Something in my head kept telling me, "Slow down! You're goin' too fast!" But then I realized that I'd been going slow my whole life, afraid to do anything without a calculated assessment. But when you ski, you realize the value of being 100% in the moment. Your plan is to make tons of snap decisions on how you're going to get to the bottom without hitting anything. You're looking down at the next hundred feet of snow and you're letting your senses guide you. You don't have a map or a five year plan; you have what's in front of you and nothing else. And it was then that I learned the value of fast. Sometimes I need fast, someday through trees, maybe even off mountains. I need to dance with fear.
Skiing has taught me how to live. Nothing has ever helped me become fearless in so many areas. Starting a brand new career at 30. Negotiating a flexible schedule at work. Training for a half marathon when running hasn't been a part of my life in three or so years. Daring to quit planning out the rest of my life, refusing to miss the one in front of me for the sake of security.
My spirit, my being tells me to embrace this wild unpredictable life. My brain filled with years of learning how to be sensible and safe tells me to keep my feet on the ground and my eyes on the next five years. And I'm still learning how to follow my heart and teach my brain, "Tro-Kay, man: everything is going to be okay."
You don't move to the mountains to start your life; you move here to live it. The kid in me is no longer buried in stress and obligation: she is front and center prioritizing belly laughs and an outrageous amount of fun. And the grown up in me gets younger everyday.