A lone, wispy cloud brushed against the tips of the mountains. The sun reflected off the powdery snow and I stood bundled at the top of a chair lift. Instead of appreciating one of my favorite views in the whole world, I was clutching my ski poles with an unparalleled level of fear.
Starting something new is terrifying. Perhaps it’s my anxiety, or perhaps it’s just human nature, but I keep putting off new experiences because I’m scared.
I went skiing for the first time a few years ago and it was a disaster. My friends took me to a bunny slope where I successfully zipped down a few times, then they carted me to the top of a mountain where I froze (and not due to the icy temps). Everything that was so easy on the bunny slope was suddenly impossible. I “pizza wedged” down one run then rode a lift down the rest of the mountain.
I avoided skiing for a while after that, but then last year my boyfriend came along and wanted to take me skiing for my birthday. I told him I’d try for half a day only if I could take a real lesson. I spent a few hours on a bunny slope, then waited for him in the lodge while he skied the rest of the day.
Although skiing down a mountain is one of the more extreme scary situations I’ve put myself into lately, I realized that not trying something because I’m scared happens pretty often. I love to write, but for years I’ve shied away from putting my voice out there because I’ve been scared. I’d also always wanted to try yoga, but embarrassment regarding my strength and ability kept me away from a studio.
Maybe 2015 is my year – I’ve started writing again and I’ve started yoga, and I even went skiing.
This year my boyfriend encouraged me to hit the slopes once again, and I reluctantly agreed. But once on the mountain, I felt a little more empowered than I did last year. I spent a full day on the bunny slope, and then yesterday I let my boyfriend and friends lead me down the mountain on some greens. I was still scared, and there were moments when I felt like I was going to be stuck in the same spot on the side of a mountain forever, but I did it.
My boyfriend looked at me yesterday when we were back at our hotel, and he said, “You’re so happy, I love it when you’re this happy.” And I really am happy. No, I’m not ready to ski backwards on one leg down a black diamond, but I wobbled down an empty, easy green run, and I noticed how the beautiful blue sky blanketed the snowy peaks on the horizon.