I’ve lived in Colorado for almost my whole life. I truly love my state more than words can express. But, much to the horror of anyone I admit this truth to, I’ve never gone skiing or snowboarding. Or at least I haven’t up until just a few days ago. I know, I know. How could I go 24 years without hitting the slopes? Well unless you have a family that’s into it already or friends willing to take you, it’s not exactly the most accessible arena to enter. Even with the mountains fixed to my West, it’s always seemed too expensive or too hard to organize or, honestly, too scary. But after a trip to Aspen, I was determined to finally correct this most horrific of wrongs.
Any time I would tell someone my plans to try snowboarding for the first time, they’d all recited the same lines: you’re going to fall, it will be hard, your ass will hurt. Some even gently nudged me toward skiing. It’s easier to learn, they would say. But I’ve always been drawn to the idea of picking up a snowboard. So when my friend found cheap lift tickets to Loveland Ski Area, I jumped on the opportunity.
On the big day, we packed up the car and headed down I-70 in the wee hours of the morning. I felt a bubble of excitement building in my chest as we navigate through the typical stop and go traffic heading into the mountains. When we finally pulled up to the parking, I felt ready to burst. This. Is. It.
Everyone’s warnings rang true. I sucked. I whipped out in epic fashion time after time after time. It did hurt; a lot more than I thought it would actually. Out of a grand total of four runs I fell off the lift every single time. I was beat up and more sore than I thought possible for days. But… It was still one of the most wonderful days I’ve ever experienced. It was like a whole new avenue opened up in front of me. Sure, I probably won’t get my bearings in this sport over night. But the chance to learn and grow in this new world is such an exciting prospect!
I think as we get older, it gets harder to start fresh. It can be beyond intimidating to stand at the edge of the unknown and jump. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves. It feels bizarre to see people half your age excelling in something you’re struggling to even grasp. But why should that stop you?
There’s an old quote by Willam S Burroughs that I feel is a bit dramatic but also neatly gets to the point of why I’m writing this blog: When you stop growing, you start dying. Yes, technically life will continue on if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone. But you’re missing out on the richness that makes life worth living. There’s no age limit for learning new things.
Many of us never step far enough out of our comfort zone to truly reach the happiest, most fulfilled version of ourself. Growth is inherently uncomfortable. You’re shedding the old and making room for the new. It’s hard, sometimes even painful, but always worth it in the end! Nobody likes sucking at something. But if you want to continue cultivating a rich existence let it happen! You’ll thank yourself, trust me.
So suck and suck often. Learn that new language, go back to school, pick up a hobby that takes some time to hone. It’s up to us whether or not we fall into a boring routine or dare to journey out of the realm of the comfortable. I hope you choose the latter.