We returned late last night from our 3rd annual ski trip. I love the sound of that. Not so much the “ski trip,” although I find that pretty amazing since I always saw that as something other people do, but the “our 3rd annual.” One of the most healing aspects in a second life is the establishment of new traditions.
The trip this year was all about perspective. When we arrived at the slopes, we first queued at the lift for the easiest slope on the property. This probably doesn’t even qualify as a bunny slope. Maybe a sleeping fetal rabbit would be more apt. Even with its simplicity and straightforward terrain, this run used to give me quite the challenge.
But this time, I traversed the slippery slopes with no falls and no difficulties. At one point on the slope I wondered where the hill was that I used to take twenty minutes to summon my courage to attempt. I was shocked to discover that it was behind me, a mere blip on the snowy hill.
It doesn’t get easier. You get stronger.
From there, Brock and I skipped the other beginner slopes and made it to the easiest intermediate run (which I have only completed once as my last run the previous year). Even though I knew that this steeper hill tests my abilities, I was calm on the way up. And even though I fell several times on the way down, I stayed calm.
I thought back to my first trip, where a single, short run could take me almost an hour as I panicked and bailed or had to stop to quiet my screaming mind.
“I can’t believe how patient you were with me my first year,” I said to Brock, remembering how he stayed by my side at the base of the mountain, sacrificing his own fun. “It’s to your credit that I can do this as well as I can now.” I realized in a moment of clarity that every other skier I had met on my trips that possessed the same level of fear as I did had given up after their first day.
Sometimes we need people to believe in us when we are not yet ready to believe in ourselves.
Our lodging on this trip was at the top of the mountain, providing me with a view of the upper slopes, that are normally well out of my reach. It was funny, I strode into that room the first night feeling confident about my first day back on skis. And then, braving the howling wind on the balcony to get a better look at the mountain in its entirety, I saw that my “big run” was only a small, seemingly flat section at the bottom of the slope. It was humbling. And motivating.
Take the time to step back and see where you can improve. Life is growth. Keep reaching.
On our second night, after a friend joined us, I tried night skiing for the first time. It was the most fun I have ever had on the slopes (well, apart for the snow and ice-crusted face!). The dim lights and small crowds made for a freeing feeling. There was nothing to think about other than the ride.
Sometimes it’s best to dim the lights on what surrounds you so that you can only focus on what is right in front of you.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, we watched the fireworks explode over the slopes with champagne in our hands, closing out one year and welcoming the next.
And 2015, like every year, will have good and bad. As always, I will strive to appreciate the former and learn from the latter.
After my nap-a-thon that is:)
May your 2015 be filled with moments that bring you wonder, occasions to build your strength, and opportunities to gain perspective.