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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

learning to ski and other things

A few years ago, we decided that we wanted to really value time together as a family and place high priority on having time for just the 5 of us to connect and have fun together, away from our normal lives.

As part of that commitment, we recently went skiing for a week over spring break.   I have long had this vision of our family all skiing together one day when the kids are older, and cultivating a fun, outdoors, athletic, and bonding thing we can as a family.

My husband grew up skiing.  I did not.  You should know that before this week, I'd been skiing exactly 2 times: one day in 2000 and one day in 2010.  You should also know that I do not like to do things that I do not do well.  I'm a perfectionist in the worst way, and if I know that I'm not going to be the best at something, I don't even want to attempt it.  Hence, as an adult, I do not like to try new things.  I abhor it.  I want to stick with what I know and not go through the pain or (ahem) embarrassment of being a beginner.

Unfortunately, though, following through on my vision means I have to learn something new.  The thought of sharing this experience as a family and with my kids trumps any pride or insecurity I have about learning a new skill.  I have to overcome my fear of falling, of failing, of people all around me knowing that I have no freaking clue what I'm doing.

I was able to ski three days that week, and while Ryan was with me the whole time, I spend a lot of time swimming around in my own head as I made my way down the mountain.  I literally had a running internal voice saying, "Weight on your upper edges, shift your weight, turn!, edges, shift your weight, don't fall down, I'm out of control, stay up, stay up!, don't run into me, my knees hurt, don't hit that woman, you can go faster, you can do this, ouch, get back up, snow down my shirt!!, keep going, watch that bump, which way?, I made it!"  Yes, literally.  Audible voice in my head saying all this stuff.  Someone ring the crazy gong.

On day two, I had improved about 300 percent from day one, and there were actually times that I was having fun and not having to work so hard.  We stuck mostly to green runs, and I could feel myself relaxing as I mastered more technique and could enjoy what I was doing and take in the beautiful scenery.  And then I did what I always do.  I mentally pressed myself.  "Greens are not good enough.  When will you master blues?  When will you be an amazing skier and conquer black diamonds?"

Wait.  Stop.  When did skiing become something to conquer instead of something to enjoy? 

Then the thought came to me that skiing green runs was not failure or something I should be ashamed of.  That maybe learning to ski for me was more a lesson of learning to enjoy myself and accepting where that falls.  Of being satisfied with fun and easy and not feeling the need to push and push and push and then quit because mastering a black diamond seems so out of reach.  Why does a black diamond have to be the ultimate goal here?   Why can't skiing a green and loving the heck out of that be the ultimate goal?  Why can't just having fun be the ultimate goal?

I want to find pleasure in something by simply doing it, without comparison or self-sabotage.  To be so ok with simply being ok at something.  This is new for me and it feels weird and rebellious in a refreshing kind of way.  

I learned to ski.  But really, I learned so much more than that.


  1. I love reading your posts. They are the longest conversations we have had in a while and they still fill me up. Ever vulnerable my friend. love u.

    1. Thanks, Dani! I miss you so much, friend. Can't wait until August when we can actually have multiple conversations in a row!! Love you!

  2. Great post Amy! Do you ever listen to the Jess Lively Podcast? You should check it out! I've been a podcast machine lately and her's is really inspiring to me as a former (kinda current) perfectionist. I think it would be right up your alley:)

    1. Thanks, Meagan! I have listened to her podcast...though not recently. I should dust that one back off. Do you have certain ones that you've loved?


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