Just Show Up
Trying new things can be scary, especially as we get older. I often wish I had the fearless spirit of my 15 month old daughter. As adults we find routines we like and we stick to them. Some may call this a rut, while others will simply call it comfort. An opportunity presented itself to go to Blue Mountain with some friends from my gym. I didn't want to pass up the social aspect of this event, so I took a giant leap out of my comfort zone and decided to go without an ounce of skiing ability. No really, for those of you who know me, you know that I don't do well with skates, roller blades, etc. Give me sneakers and a ball to play with and I'm good. So here I go at the age of 31 deciding to try something new. Not just a new food or a new nail salon, but a new sport that puts slick blades on your feet in order to cruise down a steep mountain. I had no idea how many lessons I would learn after my first day on the mountain. Besides learning the skills needed to ski, I learned the difference between snowboard and ski boots, how to get on and off of a lift, and most importantly some valuable life lessons.
The most important thing I learned is to just show up. When I first saw the event I was definitely hesitant, but I trusted the people who were willing to teach me. I put all of my faith in them and decided to just show up. I let my tribe tell me what to wear, how to buy a lift ticket, and how to clip my helmet. In life showing up is often the hardest part of doing something new or different. I assure you that in most cases if you get over the hump of showing up, you'll see that every new opportunity has something great to offer.
It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. Yes, age is just a number, but most will agree that learning a skill like skiing is much easier at a younger age. Well I'm here to tell you that if there is something out there that you want to try, go out and do it. We all say life is short, but do we all actually live out that truth? I am proud to say that I took a chance and attempted a very new thing that is extremely out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, my experience will inspire you to try something new!
I am going to take a break from my life lessons and give you a few reasons why I wanted to learn how to ski. My daughter inspires me every day and this situation is no different. Some may say it's too early to tell, but I will tell you that my daughter is a dare devil. I watch her climb things and tumble down with a smile on her face. With a personality like that I'm sure she will want to be on a mountain some day. This was my attempt to at least be on the bunny slope watching her go down a black diamond, rather than sitting in the lodge waiting for her to return. I might even be able to teach her a foundation to get started. Another reason was to learn something new with my husband. Now that we have these skills we have another thing that we can do together! And it's something we can do as a family once our daughter learns. Now the last reason may surprise you and you may say, "wow you drove over an hour to do that?" I wanted to have a beer in the lodge after a few runs on the mountain. I wanted to sit outside, drink a beer and look at the mountain. Mission accomplished....
Now a little update on my skiing ability. I was referred to as the tin man, very stiff probably because I was scared to death. I will not lie and tell you I never fell. Of course I fell! I successfully got on and off the lift, which was an accomplishment in itself. I also was getting very good at getting in and out of my skis. I was moving slow, but doing well on the bunny slope. Even after doing it a handful of times, the anxiety I felt before heading down did not get any better. I was doing much better than expected, but my confidence was still low. My crew was impressed since it was my first time on skis and they thought I was ready for the next step. I was very hesitant, but peer pressure right? We hop on the lift and I see that it goes to the very top of the mountain. What did I learn from this? It's ok to say no and mean it. The only positive thing about being at the top of that mountain was the view. I used the skills I learned on the bunny slope, but this run was just too much for me and I couldn't control my speed. I kept trying, but kept falling. I walked down the entire mountain in ski boots. For those of you who ski, you know how uncomfortable ski boots are. This led to those beers I was talking about.
It's ok to try something new and stay a beginner. Not everyone believes this, but everyone has different goals in life. Some who start a new skill need to get to the top of that skill as quickly as they can. I do not have that mindset about many things, especially not about skiing. So for example, I would have skied down that bunny slope 15 more times to finish the day and get that beer. My goal was to learn the skill and have fun and being on the bunny slope fulfilled that goal. When I was persuaded to go to the next level, it took the fun out of the activity for me. That's ok, I already planned another trip to the mountain. I'll say it one more time...it's ok to say no and mean it. Trust your gut. You know yourself better than anyone else!
Trying new things can create new connections and develop connections you already have. On that mountain I gained a new and very valuable friendship, while also developing the relationships that are already a huge part of my life. A very good friend (you know who you are) snowboarded very slowly down the entire mountain with me as she listened to me tell her how angry I was because she had a part in the peer pressure. There were also plenty of tears from me, but I wouldn't change it for the world, because I now know more than ever that she's one of the greatest friends I have. She made up for it and bought me my first beer at the lodge. We also made a new connection with a fellow mom from our area. We sat and had a beer with her and talked about CrossFit. If I didn't walk down the entire mountain, we may have never enjoyed a beer with her. It is a small world after all.
As you finish laughing at my humiliating walk down the mountain, I hope you get some inspiration from this story. Even though it ended on a negative note, I had a wonderful new experience at Blue Mountain and I look forward to skiing again next month. I learned a skill that I may some day share with my daughter, while learning a lot about myself and even more about the relationships in my life. If you skimmed through the rest, hopefully you will at least read this. It's never too late to try something new. Get out there and break down those walls. What's the worst that could happen? Just show up, you won't regret it. Your comfort zone will always be there for you at the end of the day.