I thought of titling this "Hitting the slopes," as it's about my first day back skiing (pre-bday celebration, because today, my bday, was packed with other stuff). But then I thought it's not really about skiing. I'll explain.
As I awoke that morning, I thought did I really want to do this? I was comfortable in bed at 5am. But I got up, and out I went. Up the mountain I drove and as I exited the Eisenhower tunnel (gateway to the mountains for me), the beauty of the mountains was stunning. Clouds of pink slightly covered mountains. Yes, this was going to be worth it.
Perhaps the best moment of the day was entering the office in Breckenridge, the BOEC office - where people who go to do adaptive skiing. And it seemed almost everyone was there that day. All my friends - go through those doors and leave disability somewhere else. The BOEC is where to go to realize abilities. It's where to go to get infectious positive vibes. Smile - everyone else is. How are you How was your summer? Everyone is equal - disability or not. It is hard to explain - these are some of my favorite people. So the day was not mostly about skiing - it was about people. I wasn't expecting that.
My instructor, Charlie, he's one who found me when I struggled to see what this former athlete was to do with MS. Charlie gave me a ski lesson years ago. Then I had Lori and a few years later, returned to ski and was put with Charlie again. Charlie got me skiing, got the athlete back, suggested I get into handcycling. It's all about the people. For this, I am grateful.
The skiing itself yesterday was not impressive. I started ok, but mid-morning I was back to an old habit which only serves to hurt my shoulder. By lunchtime I was discouraged. Back to the office where the focus was positive. But I was discouraged. Enter Michael. He gave me a ski lesson last year. What he sees in me is different. What he clearly sees is this person who, no matter what, will beat herself up. Nothing is ever good enough. He told me I need to focus on being positive about myself, rather than just beating myself up. He said, "You should get up every day and think something positive about yourself." He's right. The infectious positive attitude is everywhere in that office and he has it too, but I'll fight it.
Back in the afternoon, things were ok - not great, but ok. And it is the first day of ski season, so not everything can be perfect. On the last run I was getting out of control. I was trying to crash because things were so out of control. I was headed to the right but couldn't stop and couldn't crash. And all at once, I heard, "Beth! Look downhill!" In a split second I did just that. Snow flew in my face. I turned left and came to a stop. Whew - that was a close call. I did it! Apparently it looked cool, like I knew what I was doing - carving the slopes fast, in control. The beauty of out of control, but it was corrected in an instant.
And so I will go back. I'll try to improve at skiing. I'll try to find some positive thoughts. Mainly, the friendship and sense of community is key. Drop it at the door. Smile. Everything is possible.