It was fun to watch her experience everything for the first time--how the snow felt, how much fun it is to go down the hill, how difficult it is to walk in ski boots. She didn't last that long, but she had gotten the hang of it by the end. I mean, look at her form. That's as good a snow plow as I've ever seen.
I was only two when I learned to ski. It's amazing to think I was that small when I first learned. I was lucky because my dad was a ski instructor in college so I got to learn from him. I loved skiing. I would ski from the time the lift opened in the morning until the last run of the day. I never ever wanted to stop.
I loved skiing, but I think I particularly loved spending time with my dad. A lot of the time it was just me and him. We would ski as fast as we could down the hill and then catch our breath on the ride back up on the chair lift. He would give me a Starburst from his jacket pocket and I would suck on it until it thawed enough for me to chew. (Maybe the Starbursts were responsible for my never-ending energy?)
Some of my best memories are from riding the chair lift with my dad. He would give me little skiing lessons and I would practice what he taught me on the next run. Then he would talk to me about how it went and ask me what I thought I needed to do differently. I would try harder each time. I was a pretty determined little snowbunny.
Sometimes I would have a bad run. I would get tired or the hill would be a little beyond my skill level. There were some big falls and many tears. My dad would always repeat something that I don't think I fully understood until years later:
I wanted to believe him, but I would watch other amazing skiers who never seemed to fall. Sometimes I thought he was just saying that to make me feel better.
Luckily, at some point I realized he was right. Falling is a necessary part of learning. When you are young, falling is a natural part of life. It's expected. But as an adult, it seems like we try to do everything in our power not to fall. Not to fail. Not to mess up or make a mistake. Our focus should be on what we've learned, not on how many times we have fallen. Falling simply gives us the chance to stop, catch our breath, and assess what didn't work. It should be a natural part of life whether we are 5 or 25 or 75.
So fall. Fall down. Fall overboard. Fall on deaf ears. Fall on hard times. Fall head over heels. Fall flat on your face. Each time you fall, simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and look at it as another opportunity to learn.