It’s neat when life subtly presents you with tips on how to live it. I think these hints are bursting around us and flaying out from under our feet all the time. It’s just a matter of noticing and deciphering them. Today I noticed one of them.
I was on the chairlift with my [rad] parents watching a snow-decked, very ambitious dude tackle a neck-breakingly steep hill acne’d with moguls (yes, I turned acne into a verb and breaking into an adverb…let’s call it creative license). He was cruising with grace in and around the big lumps of snow. I said to my dad, “man, you gotta think fast to do that,” and he said “yup, you gotta always watch the ground in front of you while maintaining focus on what’s ahead.” He was half joking-half serious but it suddenly made so much sense.
At once I noticed the little flush of cockiness that had been increasingly consuming me over the course of the day as a result of not having wiped hard (yet) all season. A solid bail can take a lot out of you, some of which can include oxygen, blood, spit, skin, bits of your board, and most importantly, confidence. But there I sat, confidence [and body] intact, wondering what I’d done differently this time around.
I’ve learned a lot since last snowboarding season. This year has brought me bouts of both success and disappointment , friendships and lack there-of, on tour and off tour, love and loss, plans and disarray, ambition and procrastination. Like every year, I’ve learned that much more about a suitable way to tackle my life. One particular thing I learned over the course of 2010 is that life is not going to run away on you. I have spent so much of my time looking ahead, aiming and shooting and racing and running and not enough time on the obstacles right in front of me. At the end of the day, those are what will knock you over and stop you from getting to those extraordinary things in the distance.
Somewhere along the way I stored that little tidbit of wisdom in my mind and started applying it to everything, even snowboarding. I’ve been eating-shit less because I am not constantly plotting how I am going to hit that jump way up there, or what part of the lift-line I’m going to glide into, or how fast I can zip cruelly by that 9-year old beginner skier like I used to. I am watching the ground in front of me, thinking quickly but carefully while still maintaining that focus on what’s up ahead (Dr. Leo Marvin would call it “Baby Steps”). It’s kind of a perfect balance, one that I’m still perfecting. One that will make life a lot easier I think. Not just on the sides of mountains.
I guess long story short: if you know your ambitions, can envision what you want and remember that every step and obstacle, small or great, quick or long-lasting, is going to lead you there, you’re already on your way. And with a lot less eating of shit.
2011 here we come.