so a while back i had to write about a personal experience for an english class, so i pretty much took stuff i wrote in here and put it together. i'll post the final version here in case anyone wants to read it (although it's long). even though the ski season is over for most of us, the message still definitely applies.
Sometime last year I received a free issue of Urban Climber Magazine. Rock climbing isn’t a sport I participate in, but for whatever reason I decided to look inside and see what it was all about. I turned to the page with an opening letter from the editor which caught my interest and I continued to read the entire passage. Towards the end of the reading I came across a powerful message that made me stop and think for few minutes. The paragraph read, “…you decide to step back outside and take a moment to look around, something you can’t remember doing ever. It’s the moment that’s always forgotten, the final pause of the day. You take that mental snapshot and feel like the luckiest person on this earth because, today, all of this was yours: the rocks, the trees, the quiet, the frisky wind, the light blanket of soft white, the clean smell of mountain — all of this, and there’s a single set of footprints that proves today was truly all for you. A gift.”
This had a profound effect on me, because not only as a skier, but just a human being, I often forget to just stop and take in the little things. I've heard many people say something about slowing down and not taking life for granted, but this particular message grabbed my attention. Whether I'm mountain biking, surfing, or skiing, I never really sit down after a session and just think about everything that was put on earth and came together to allow me to have just a little time for my own personal enjoyment.
I was home from UVM on break that spring and I got a chance to stop by the beach while I was running some errands. I had driven down to the beach with friends at night during Thanksgiving and Christmas break, but the previous August was the last time I was really on the beach before that day. It was sometime around noon so the boardwalk was fairly active with older, retired people, moms with their children, and some younger people perhaps on their lunch break. Unsurprisingly for March the beach and ocean were empty except for a lone longboard surfer.
Although I wasn't going to surf I figured I might as well just walk down towards the water because I didn’t have much else to do. As I got closer to the water the sounds of traffic, people, and construction soon disappeared, and I was left with only the crashing of the waves and an occasional seagull flying overhead. The sun was shining, the winds were light, and for a second I flashbacked to a perfect day at the mountain that winter. The geography was vastly different, but the feeling was the same. Everything was right. Things in nature had just come together perfectly to allow me to experience ultimate joy and satisfaction doing nothing but being in that location at that time. Thoughts of the paper I had due and the midterms and finals up ahead were non-existent and my mind was clear.
I headed back up towards the boardwalk after about ten minutes feeling revived, and for the first time in a while, happy to be alive. I got in my car and as quickly as if someone flipped a switch, it began to rain. The winds picked up, the temperature dropped, and the clear blue skies were replaced by gray storm clouds. Just another reminder how quickly things can and do change, and the importance of appreciating all we have. My birthday was approaching soon and my mom kept asking what I wanted as a gift. I didn't tell her, but inside I knew all that I needed was the ‘present.’ French poet Guillaume Apollinaire said it best when he stated that, “Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”