We Will Never Ever EVER Break-Up

By Friday, March 27, 2015 2 5

I recently went to the wedding of one of my oldest friends.  I’m not talking old as in elderly blue hair, I’m talking old as in decades long.  We’ve been besties since we were 14 and that was – *gulp* – 21 years ago (no need to do the math, thank you).  For those of you with old friends like this, the ones that started before you could (legally) drive, then you know how special they are.

I have the additional pleasure of having two old friends, which is actually just one friendship binding three of us.  This dynamic is even more special because we have to balance multiple people / multiple crazies in one relationship.  When I say “special,” I’m using a loose definition of the word special.  I’ve seen Big Love, polygamy ain’t easy.

Old friendships are the best.  You don’t have to pretend or guess or do anything but be yourselves.  You accepted each other just as you are a long time ago, so there is no explaining because you already get it.  Old friends know who you are but also who you were.  They know all the things that have happened in your life that changed you, all the angels and all the skeletons.  And you know that they will always be there, no matter what you do or how far apart you live.

Old friendships are also kind of the worst because they’re like a mini-marriages.  Once you pass a certain threshold of friendship years, you become family and the relationship becomes permanent.  Once you seal that deal, you have no choice but to weather the hard parts…which is essentially the definition of marriage.

You go through the same waves as marriage: you get the most beautiful example of human interaction and partnership, but it also requires work, patience, understanding, and commitment.  You get all the good stuff: closeness, memories, love, laughter, and knowing each other so well.  But you also get fights, predictability, irritation, butt-hurt feelings, and knowing each other obnoxiously well.  You know so much about each other that you can’t get away with anything, they know what you’re going to do before you do it.  Annoying! Stop reading my mind! Rude…

My two besties and I are all living our own lives now, separate and far away, so it seems it would be easy to disconnect.  When you go down different paths and don’t talk everyday, it’s easy to temporarily forget the reason you signed up for this commitment in the first place.  Like marriage, at some point you will probably think the phrase: “maybe we’ve just grown apart.”  But like marriage, really letting go of that person is a big, BIG deal.  This relationship is binding and that person is family.  It’s forever, in sickness and health, in distance and closeness, till death do you part.

Now we are getting married (as in real life marriages to real life people) and having babies, so our family is growing.  I see each of us opening our hearts without question to these new additions and they are automatically added into our mutual marriage.  We come as a package so whoever marries one of us, marries all of us.  Sorry dudes.

I know that our paths will continue to diverge.  But the roots are there and the roots are deep.  A little wind can’t knock us down; we’ll just bend, adjust, and stay upright.  I know that when life throws something at me and I need them, my two old friends will be there.  If someone pisses me off, watch out for my besties — angry mama bears protect our own.

So, while old friendships do come with unique challenges, I speak from experience that they are worth it.  Old friends will always come home to each other, we will always be waiting, we will always be there.  We are the lucky ones.  I can’t wait to see what the next 21 years hold for my two besties and I.  And the 21 years after that…

To close, on homage to a tradition that started when we were 21 and decided to take the below photo of us making our biggest smiles ever:

biggest-smiles-possible_web

Oh what sweet little, round baby faces.  Since then, we’ve taken this photo at every important occasion.  It’s actually quite physically taxing and results in our necks being sore the next day.  Every time.  Here’s one taken of us last year:

Old-Friends_web

You can guarantee that we’ll be taking this photo for the rest of our marriage.  Love you girls!

Things They Forgot to Mention:

Old friendships, like marriages, require patience, love and commitment.  If you’ve got those things, then you get the good stuff and that stuff is GOOD.  Trust us.

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Skiing as a Metaphor For Life

By Thursday, March 5, 2015 2 3

Four years ago, I tore my ACL while skiing.  It was a long road of aggravating self-doubt to get me back to where I am today.  The mental fisticuffs that went on after the accident was a complete parallel to life.  What I learned through getting over my fear of skiing translated directly to getting over my fear of life.  Let’s examine the metaphor, you guys!

The Fundamentals of Skiing

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(1) To state the obvious, skiing is a controlled fall.  The challenge is to be the one in control of the fall and that requires you to push beyond what is comfortable.  It feels safer to lean back to be closer to the mountain and the solid ground you know so well.  But doing that gives the mountain control, not you.  Instead, you have to completely ignore your comfort zone; you have to lean away from the mountain and into the fall.

(2) Staring directly in front of your skis, another basic human instinct, doesn’t work either.  You do this because you want to know what you’re about to encounter.  But if you stare at the tips of your skis, your body tenses up to react to every tiny undulation coming at you.  You won’t be planning where you want to go, preparing for the obstacles, or seeing the big picture — you’ll be relegated to always being reactive.  As soon as you lift your head up, your body relaxes, those tiny undulations aren’t significant anymore and you roll right over them.  You have to look down the mountain and into your future to take charge of your path.

(3) The final piece is knowing that you have everything you need.  Trust that your legs and your equipment can handle the obstacles as they come.  Know that your muscles are strong and trained to carry you through the bumps.  Know that your equipment is designed and fitted specifically for you to handle the terrain.  They are more than capable, but you have to believe in them.  Relax your legs, let your skis run, and allow them to do what they are meant to do.

When you have these fundamentals down, your likelihood of a humiliating yard sale scenario (illustrated below) is far diminished.

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, photo, ski, skiing, faceplant, yardsale

Sucks to be those guys.

The Fundamentals of the Fight

For three years following my accident, skiing and I fought, and everyday skiing won.  I was terrified, leaning back, staring directly in front of my skis, with nothing to stabilize me.  I was so scared of falling that I micromanaged every turn, knuckles white, smile fake, toenails continuously falling off.  I did not have any fun — like none.  Yet I kept skiing, determined to get over this gigantic fear and crippling self-doubt.

Then one day everything changed.  This was the day I gave in.  I was so tired of insecurity and micromanaging and overthinking.  I was done with fear and felt utterly drunk (I wasn’t, not a single sip of delicious mountain whiskey!).  I had an out of body view where I finally saw what I was doing.  The words: “What are you so scared of??” screamed at me.

And for the first time since the accident I relaxed and let myself, my legs, and my skis go.  My whole body loosened, even my vision, and instinctively I leaned forward.  My core showed up to hold me steady and I knew without a doubt that I had everything I needed.

Surprise, surprise, that was the best ski day of my life — even prior to the accident.

Driving home that day, I thought about what changed and I realized that I wasn’t afraid to fall anymore.  Obviously I’m not into being concussed, but avoiding a fall was no longer my main focus and once I let go of fear, I regained control.  I saw that falling can be a good thing.  Falling means I’m trying, I’m reaching, I’m pushing.

Since then, skiing and I have become buddies again.  We still have our setbacks but I know how to regain control.  I know that if I don’t take control; the mountain, gravity, and inertia will.  I would still get down the mountain, but I wouldn’t really be skiing, I would just be falling.

The Fundamentals of Life

To really ski, you have to lean forward, widen your perspective, know that you have everything you need, and then just let go.  What else can be said for life in general?  If you live your life through fear, you won’t be driving.  If you are so afraid to fall that you don’t push your boundaries, life will just happen to you.  If you don’t look into the future, you can’t plan or dream.  If you think you don’t have everything you need, you won’t have everything you need.  If you lack a belief in yourself, any setback will take you to the ground.  Because above all, if you don’t control your life, someone else will.

So there you have it: you can learn everything you need to know about life from skiing.  Well, except for solving the Pollock octahedral numbers conjecture, that you have to learn the advanced additive number theory.  But maybe skiing has an answer for that too…

Things They Forgot to Mention:

Skiing well, like living well, requires you to know you have everything you need, you’ve always had everything you need, so relax and just drive.

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