Was that the question?
I think I was about 11 when I had my first experience of snow. Living in Australia, unless you are lucky enough to be in the Highlands, for the most part life is all about sun, surf and outdoor summer living. When the suggestion was made, whilst visiting with my Sister, BrotherInLaw and Niece in Victoria, that we go out for the day in the snow I remember being thrilled! Equally, at the end of the day aside from the huge fun had witnessing my amazing Brother-in-law’s reaction to his 1st ever encounter with snow (that is a private however hilarious family story! 😊 ) I remember thinking ‘so that’s it?’
Several years later I had my first ‘real’ snow experience and it was again whilst visiting with my Sister, Brother-in-law, nieces and nephew (yes their brood had expanded by then) who were now living in Europe. It was Christmas 1974 and they had taken us to the most beautiful place possible for a White Christmas holiday! Chamonix in France! Omgoodness! It was THE best 2 weeks ever. I learned how to ski and had the best time with my nieces and nephew who, clearly, had taken to skiing like absolute Pro’s and were showing me up so much … #waytoomuchfun. I remember my Ski Instructor was very handsome and given I was at the impressionable age of 14 (well nearly 15 I kept telling myself) the teenage ‘fantasies’ of living my life with him were hilarious! I remember feeling right ‘at home’ in France, and often feel that this was the awakening within my soul of my lifelong love affair with the language and the country and its beautiful people.
The next decade back in Australia saw several trips returning to the snowfields with my children and loving watching them have their ‘snow experiences’. So many funny memories with them and so many wonderful ‘snow times’.
During the 90’s those experiences continued, and it was clear to me that whenever I had to list my ‘sports enjoyed’ – snow skiing was always top of the list.
In the 1st decade of 2000, my skiing addiction gave me the opportunity to go to Japan on a few occasions which completely changed my allegiance with Australian snowfields. Niseko captured my heart from the moment I stepped off the airport transfer bus onto the main village street. There was a sense of excitement in the air for something yet to be discovered. The accommodations with their private onsens (volcanic mineral hot baths which were an absolute godsend at the end of every day), the huge variances in food offerings and the heated streets. The vision of the ski slopes rising in front of me and then the final moment of me ‘divorcing’ Australian snowfields forever … the moment I stepped off the ski lift at the main level – pushed off and turned to wait for my companions and saw that snow-covered dormant volcano across the way. It’s magnificence and presence are something that I can never truly do justice in words. Suffice to say decisions to book many trips to Niseko during that decade were never given a second thought … just booked! 😊
So, it was with huge sadness and questioning, as I was on a recent hike (another of my loves), that as I was reminiscing all of the above and loving the fact that every decade of my life on this earth has had ‘snow experiences’ peppered throughout … I suddenly realized that not EVERY decade did.
This last decade from 2009 through to 2020, I have not seen – stepped on – felt or skied on snow at all! This realization has shaken my soul so much. Something that I have so enjoyed, that fills my heart with excitement and achievement and freedom, has not been a part of my life for over 10 years. How could this happen? What have I been doing? How did I forget?
I was sharing this with my girlfriend the next day and her reply was worth repeating. “How often do we all get so busy in our lives…how often do we all feel like we have to be doing so much for everyone else to please them, to help them, to make sure that they are happy…that we get to the point where we forget the little things in our lives that give us the freedom of our own hearts? “
Has ‘busyness’ become the ruler of our lives? Have ‘excuses’ found justified positions in our minds when it comes to our own lives?
I am about to celebrate my 60th birthday in 4 weeks. Like every ‘milestone’ birthday, we often reflect on life and make promises to ourselves as well as create new life goals. I find that as I do this, my mind is starting to unlock the box in my subconscious to remind me of what life is really about by bringing up these delicious memories … to do with what I will.
So, to Ski or not to Ski? Some would say “if you haven’t skied in over 10 years you may want to consider tobogganing next time! Hee-hee!”
I am not sure when I will be attempting the slopes again, however I know that I will.
Equally importantly, I am going to make a conscious effort to allow the ‘busyness’ to reduce and start filling the gap with what life is meant to be … us living for us – to experience, to grow, to enjoy, to contribute, to love … and most of all to always take care of ourselves – 1st!
“Speak up…even if your voice shakes!”
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