There have been so many 'firsts' in my life: first day of kindergarten (and every other grade in education including college), first date, first kiss, first job, first child's birth, first publication, first auto accident, first hospital stay, and the list goes on, just as it does for everyone. Hopefully, we are all growing and changing and entering into new endeavors. All of those firsts, though, teach us about ourselves. I've certainly learned several things. First off, first situations compel my expectations and nervous reactions into hyper-drive while lowering my thinking and logic skills and speech capability. Second is my body is not physically adept at most sports (one exception is horseback riding). I'm always a klutzy first-timer who stumbles over her own feet and tongue.
My new boyfriend wanted me to go skiing with him, something I'd never done. Now, I admire good skiers, and my boyfriend was an excellent skier and an experienced ski instructor. No problem; I can do this. Yeah, forgetting about my acrophobia, I agreed. At eighteen, I was in love and desperate to prove it.
First thing, I was so nervous I forgot to say goodbye or thank you to my parents who drove me to Mount Brighton. I'd hear a lot about that later. The boyfriend was taking me back to my dorm room at MSU.
Without more ado, the lesson on how to put on ski boots and skis progressed. Once in ski accouterment, we approached the rope tow of the bunny hill. Thankfully I have a very strong upper body and managed to hold on to the top, and further. I only let go as the rope changed directions to vertical. It was freezing out. I hate cold. I was afraid of looking a total fool (too late) and terrified of being on two slippery, long, sticks that I seemed to tilt over too far to the right or left, or backward, but upright was difficult. I also carried lethal spears in both hands. I imagined myself sliding out of control down the hill, ski poles waving in wild arcs with small children on a hill. Then I looked down the hill.
To me, it was like looking over the crest of Everest, and I had to bend over and hold my knees before I fainted. How had I gotten myself into this? I heard an exasperated sigh and knew this boyfriend was done and gone. However, he patiently told me not to worry about going down and showed me how to slowly slide, stop, and turn. Before I knew it we were at the bottom of the tiny hill.
One important lesson I learned besides the most fundamental of ski lessons (I would go on to higher hills and even moguls) was that even the most dismal of beginnings can lead to lasting endeavors. This one has lasted over forty years. Luckily he has always had ski partners because both children were on skis at eighteens months.
Please go to Victoria Chatham's blog for the next post on this tour.
All those participating in the 'First Time' round-robin: