We all try to be someone we’re not. We fight our tendencies, deem them evil and work on strengthening where we are weak. Or maybe that is just me. Earlier this month I skied. On my fifth day on the Colorado slopes, I tried my first black diamond.
Pre-black diamond descent, I peered over the ridge in horror. Down bad. Up very, very good. Perhaps it’s because of my preferred hobby as grief aficionado, but standing there I immediately thought of my journey through grief. The get-up is unnatural. You’ve got your helmet, your goggles, and your moonwalk boots. Then the ski jacket and ski pants are my real life nightmare. There is a reason you see Jennifer Aniston celebrating Christmas in Cabo, not Aspen. Spending my days with helmet hair and shapeless clothing threw me out of my comfort zone. If I’m going to break a leg, I should at least look cute doing it.
I peered over the ridge. With my friend’s encouragement and guidance, I managed to start my descent. The sensation and movement of skiing is a lot like grieving. Right when you’re most terrified, you need to maintain your speed, point your skis down the steep slop and pay enough attention to what you’re doing so you end up safely parallel. You do all this in order to avoid spiraling out of control.
From what I assessed on my trip, as you ski more and more your instincts improve. You train yourself to effortlessly manage what is to come: the dangerous ice patches, the steep slopes that send your heart into your throat, and the thrill of a freshly groomed run.
Skiing like grieving helps us see life is short and should be enjoyed. Skiing can be replaced with anything that puts us outside our comfort zone. By going outside our comfort zone we become stronger, faster, and more confident in our ability to deal with whatever comes our way.
New Discovery: New challenges of all kinds improve our ability to cope with grief and invigorate our lives.