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.