A while back now (wow) I wrote about a transition in my choice of winter adventuring tools as a metaphor for evolution. This is the overdue report back, and yes. Things have changed!
In mid 2019 I’d just come off a pretty decent work life win, so decided it was time to invest in some stuff. And as promised in part 1 of this story, some fat, fully rockered snow sliding devices turned up in my life. As luck would have it, I walked in just on a sale day and walked out with a fully state-of-the-art set of hardware…
So, duly equipped with state of the art tools, I went out to continue my journey of change.
Did I suddenly become awesome?
It turns out (and we all know this), that the best tools on the planet still need to be guided by skilled hands (or feet).
Did I still have fun despite non-awesomeness?
Yes!!! More fun than ever. Because things had started to click, and my journey was still progressing to where it needed to go.
Also, because I asked for help.
Evolution needs allies
We often head into difficult tasks with lone warrior mindsets – that idea that ‘I have to solve all the things’, ‘It’s all up to me’. And this had been my approach with learning to ski. Yes, I’d ask for ‘help’ if I saw fellow freeheelers out and about, in a kind of lightweight no commitment way, and they gave generously! However, because I was aloof, thinking ‘oh I’ve got this’, I wasn’t able to learn well, or take on board their offerings. Because of my ego in the way, I was never able to put together a coherent path to where I wanted to be.
So I finally asked for proper help. Part of this is also wrapped up in suddenly being able to acquire help – which had been financially out of reach for a long time. Because I could in that particular now, I committed to a professional telemark skiing instructing course.
…and I was fucking terrified! Who am I to be saying ‘ohyeah I can teach people to ski’? I barely meet the basic criteria for the course! My story was all about ‘oh I’m gonna be a huge deadweight and just piss people off’. I asked a lot of questions, got overly nervous, and finally the days turned up.
It was the best thing I could have done. Aside from spending time in my little house in the wild (which is always good for the soul) and roadside coffees (ditto)…
…I finally learned to ski! I had four people kindly pull me apart over two days, and put me back together again in ways I could understand. We all learned together, supported each other, pulled each other apart and reassembled as a group. It turns out my fears were baseless, and at the end, I could…ski! As an added bonus, I gained more skills in structured ways to help people and a wonderful certificate.
…putting it all together, even two weeks before this photo was taken, diving into trees would have had me totally freaking out. Progress made, evolution achieved. With help. With… allies!
By now you might be thinking ‘well, why didn’t you get skiing lessons earlier like normal people do and not be a blowhard about it, you giant dumbass?’
…only because I’m a dumbass, and I find it hard to ask for help! I’m working on it, I have to evolve myself as well as my skills on planks… and I have far to go…
Was there a point somewhere here?
…or am I merely privilege wanking?
Both. The privilege wank is about skiing and talking about how awesome I am. Even fully dirtbagging, snow sliding in nice stuff is something that needs a certain amount of privilege that isn’t readily available everywhere. So we’re duty bound, if we have that, to spread it around.
…which gets to the point. We can’t stay where we are – socially, metaphorically, physically, metaphysically – if we want to thrive as a strong and healthy, skilled society who can move gracefully in the world. Like a skier in need of a great leap, our world is in need of a great leap – and it can only be done collaboratively.
My way of privilege-spreading, for the now, is to be a blowhard – write stories like these about ways to think about and act on evolving our selves – undertaking our own little revolutions – in order to create a necessary larger one. Working on moving from living from experience-to-experience to wrapping a life into a coherent whole; which becomes a thread in the larger weaving of our planet and everything on it.
…and because my stories are kinda ordinary, I hope they also inspire you to make your own! We’re not all Alex Honnold or Candide Thovex. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how we each work on the stories of our own paths through life!
Nobody can evolve alone, and everybody needs a different way of support. It’s hard, and we need to help each other out. Yes, work on your own. And yes, share your burdens.
…and importantly, enjoy the fruits of your work.
I know, for this small example, I’m going to…
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