Adventure in Aspen: the Beauty of a Beginner

One year + one month ago to the date, I found myself sitting in an ER in Winter Park, CO with a broken wrist from a snowboarding mess.  I had pushed myself too far, tried to skip beginner to expert.  Wanted to hang with the cool guys that picked up boarding in 8 seconds.  Went to the next hill when I wasn't ready.   Was in a rush.  Reality check below...

So this week I am in Aspen, CO trying this snowboarding thing again.  I won't lie to you guys - the past two days on the slopes, I have been trying to repeat history and have been on my ass every run. I have three bruises the size of Texas on and around my tailbone, a purple-ish-blue hue on my right elbow, sore shoulders (from picking the said ass off the snow all day) and a rigid neck from what I can only imagine is whiplash from falling so hard. Yes, the answer to your question is yes, I was in a rush again.  Perhaps I thought my friends could teach me, or I thought I could pick it up in 8 seconds or maybe this time would be better because my life is in a better place (note to self: #pleasestopoverthinking), or that maybe I would be fine with a couple of wrist guards and a little more time practicing on my own. My bruised body, my beloved+battered ego and my vacation time truly disagree.

I realize this week that I hate being a beginner in the realm of sports or athletics. The beginner:  that beautiful process where you know nothing, you start fresh and you truly take it one step, one day, one lesson at a time. You ask for help, you have high educational needs and you might have to pay the $140/hour Early Bird special for private lessons. I just dislike it. And I ooze animosity to the sport, to anyone close to me (sorry loving boyfriend and best friend and sisters and Mom and Dad...), and my attitude is one that I do not recognize.  Who is that mean girl and why is she so upset that she cannot snowboard on her second day? 

I was just pushing too hard.  Forcing something that was not there - that being knowledge and a skill set.  It was like throwing me into the water with zero swim lessons and no floaties...go!  Hadn't I learned my lesson the first time?  Remember the hot pink cast?  Don't I know comparison is lame?  I needed to clip out of the board and realize I cannot just pick up snowboarding.  And then, I needed to be okay with it.  And yes, my boyfriend and best friend are better than me.  And that is okay, too.  I dialed the snowboarding ticket information yesterday eve and scheduled a private lesson.  I committed to taking my time and being exactly what level I am on.

So today, I found myself on the top of a small hill after my private lesson this morning, surrounded by small children learning how to ski and snowboard and a mind full of patience. Most ski spots call them bunny hills - Aspen supported me and labeled them the "Meadows".  I smiled at my learnings, my setbacks and my ability to not quit.  As I rode the magic carpet up the little hill, I committed to not leaving until I made it down without falling and felt absolutely confident with my abilities to turn...much less, stop. Needless to say, I never left the meadows this week.

Finally, dear Self:  Stop rushing to catch up with everyone else you are with.  Stop comparing, please.  Appreciate exactly where you are, call the professionals for a lesson and truly celebrate when you make it down the bunny hill without falling.  And then, truly be okay when you fall down the next time.  You are a learner, a true beginner.

This is the beauty in the beginner.  The small celebrations now when I learn to stop.  The truth in that, I am a level 1 who rides the magic carpet type escelators-on-snow and cannot quite get the toe side on the snowboard.  And yes, I feel cool saying toe-side.  And yes, I feel cool in the Meadows.  And yes, I fall down and my boyfriend helps me up and walks me down when everyone else is boarding past.  And yes, my friends and family enjoy me more when I actually enjoy myself, as a beginner.