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Logo Logo Nick Hodges

Skiing and Hard Things

/ 2 min read

I used to ski. I started because all the cool kids did it. Some of the teachers in my junior high used to organize Friday night ski trips to local slopes in Minnesota, and the bus rides were a major social event. Who you sat next to on the bus was a big deal and a very stressful decision.

These days I’m not really interested in skiing — the time and hassle factor of it is off the charts. But I have some good memories of it.

I was never a great skier, but I gave it a shot, ended up saving up to buy my own equipment instead of renting, and got fairly good.

But I had a strange attitude about how I approached the slopes. I used to go straight to the black routes — the toughest ones — trying to ski things that were way outside my abilities. I think I was trying to keep up with some of my friends who were better than me.

In any event, I remember kind of being terrified and not doing well and feeling lucky that I didn’t kill myself.

Of course it occurs to me now that I should have just stayed on the blue courses — the easier ones — and enjoyed myself, doing things that were within my skills as I gradually built up to harder things. But for some reason, I would always just jump right in to the proverbial deep end. I’m lucky that I didn’t bread my neck.

I feel like there is a life lesson in there somewhere. Acutally, there definitely is. One of my favorite quotes is from Dirty Harry, where Clint Eastwood says, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I think that’s true. I think it’s important to know what you can and can’t do, and to be honest with yourself about it. I just recently drew the connection between my liking that quote and my ill-fated approach to skiing.

I think I’m going to ski the blue courses of life more, with an eye towards skiing the black ones when I’m more ready. I’m not saying don’t do hard things, but I am saying this: Be a bit more selective in what hard things you choose to do.