I recently returned from a family ski trip to Park City, Utah. Everyone else had skied before, however this was my first time.
I’m not the least bit athletic so the feeling of anxiety was prevalent. After my second day of ski school, I was told that skiing may not be for everyone. I am extremely persistent and wouldn’t give up, regardless of how many times I kept falling and being the worst skier in my class both days.
The instructors told me that I was in my head too much. Instead of feeling the snow underneath me and going with my natural instincts of movement, I overthought every single motion until I was riddled with nerves and quickly losing confidence in myself with every fall or wrong action. Another instructor told me to sing and move to the beat. I tried with no success.
After traveling all that way and trying so hard, being told by your instructor that skiing may not be for you was disheartening to say the least. On the third day, I had given up on classes and wanted to ski with the rest of my family on the easiest green, or beginner, slopes. At first, I was tense and already felt I was going to fall, which I did several times. However, as my family encouraged me, I continued to get up and try again.
Every time I would successfully turn and make my way down the slope, the more confidence I would gain. I began to get out of my head and my own thoughts and feel the arches of my feet against the mountain with each turn and crossing. The self-doubt lessened, and I began to want to sing as I felt the wind in my hair and listened to the sound of the snow crunch beneath my skis.
This time I wasn’t forcing myself to sing. I wasn’t being hard on myself. I simply went with the flow of my body and the incline of the mountain. I finally let out the deep breath of anxiety that had restricted me from enjoying the experience, turning it into a task. I was having fun! While moving down the mountain, I thought about how life and this experience related.
I overthink everything in my average day-to-day living. If I let go of the control I often feel I need, life moves more easily. Life will happen regardless of how much I fight or worry about it.
Flowing with the changes and movements helps me enjoy the beautiful moments of life and take everything in with a deeper gratitude. Having fun while also respecting life, as I respected the mountain, makes being alive more enjoyable.
Being kinder to and more respectful of my own self, receiving encouragement from others and not giving up provide the confidence needed to conquer the goals I strive toward.
Skiing taught me to stop being so hard on myself, do the best I can and enjoy life on life’s terms, even when I fall.
Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.