Above my desk is a collage I made when I didn’t have the money to buy something to decorate my walls. I have often thought about getting rid of it, however each time I glance up it reminds me of a time in my life that felt simpler. Like many seasonal workers there was a very transient nature to my life. The leaves would begin to change color, I would purchase a plane ticket, procure housing on the other side of the globe, pack my bags (again), say goodbye to friends and family (some blood, some soul) and head off to embrace another winter.
Yes, indeed I was leading a dream life. I skied from June through the start of October in the ski fields of Australia, and from late November through the beginning of April in amazing resorts of Austria, Japan and Colorado. This life allowed me to travel the world, ski in some of the best resorts in the world, meet extremely influential and interesting people, and to make wonderful friendships that have endured the tests of time and distance. I was at the top of my game, representing Australia as a National Team member, certified by the Australian Professional Ski Instructors Association as a trainer and examiner, a full client base in both hemispheres and the opportunity to work, train and play in resorts around the world. Even today, I still love sharing my passion for mountain life, still love the gliding sensation that allows a spirit to soar, still love to watch with wonder the unique form of individual snowflakes as they land on my arm and still my heart begins to beat a little faster with anticipation as the temperatures drop and the last of the leaves fall from the trees. And, for 23 consecutive winters I was content.
I loved the sport, I loved sharing it with others, I loved seeing families connect in an entirely different way creating new shared memories. I also watched some of my peers that had been in the industry for many years become jaded and lose their passion. I loved this sport so much that I had made a decision that if ever I lost the passion for sharing the sport that it was time for me to move on and do something different.
I recognize now, that the bus-y-ness of my life got in the way of my being able to identify the beginning seeds of unrest in my life. Had I taken the time to do some “down time”, planning, checking in with myself I may have seen or felt the signs before they hit me like a sledgehammer. I recall the day very clearly. I was standing on the last steep pitch of the day, coaching a client just as I had done many times before providing words of encouragement or a gentle reminder as necessary when a voice inside my head said “What ARE you doing?”
The words were intertwined with the feeling of knowing with every cell in my body that something had changed and the way I had been living me life would no longer serving me. It was time to do something differently. Without the passion, without the love, it was actually work. I so desperately needed a break. I had skied for 23 winters consecutively and managed to bleed the passion from my love of skiing, the mountains and the life I had created.
From that lesson, I learned to take stock of my life more frequently, to look at life, look at the balance, identify what was important to me. Identify my values and begin to make conscious choices about what I was doing, how I was choosing to live and to create balance in all areas of my life (as much as possible.…right?)
So I stayed put and enjoyed a summer, began to dabble in white water kayaking, started hiking and rode my bike again. This is by no means the end of skiing for me, however, just a necessary break to learn a few life lessons, to allow the passion for sliding to build itself… to miss skiing a little so I would yearn for it again.
Starting from scratch, I found a bed on sale, purchased a small chair, a bookshelf and a chest of drawers from a yard sale in the car park of the complex I had recently rented a room in and collected inspirational images and sayings from magazines to create my collage to decorate my wall. Twenty years later, as I sit at my desk today and glance up at my collage, the words “Woman, Mother, Wife” sing out to me. I am that and so much more and it’s easy to get caught up in all the roles I have created for myself. So, to provide some balance to the crazy schedules we create for ourselves, I reflect on the quotes on the bottom right corner of my collage;
“Life is filled with simple pleasures – savor them all”;
“Reflect, relax, rest and play”
If only it were that easy………