Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sliding out of the comfort zone for fun

Two things before I begin my post, which is not about the Winter Olympics, despite the sporty graphic.
Skates that I would not wear but would 
like to have made into shoes

First, many Winter Olympic seasons ago when I was in my twenties, I said to a good friend who had invited me to play tennis, "I won't win, but I'll play. Is that okay?"

"Interesting," he said.

You can fire people up by convincing them that you'll win. But you can make them drop their guard if you apologize in advance for losing, was my strategy. Fun? What fun? Game on.

Second, I've been thinking, for all my talk of seizing the moment and following dreams and trying new things and leaving no day unturned for the magic and meaning and discovery that awaits, I haven't been working very hard at being my own example.

And just like that, I was invited to go skating.

I used to ski, and skied well until I was injured. Then, I skied against medical advice and injured myself again. Then, because, and only because I had just purchased an expensive, flattering outfit, new skis, and a season pass to Loon, I was advised by my sensible and witty doctor that unless I had to (ha ha), it would be a good idea not to ski anymore.

I'll go off topic for a second. Skiing is an attractive sport. First, even if they're sometimes puffy and you have to wear them in the freezing cold, most ski outfits are flattering. We all look a little more youthful and healthier in them. And, if it hurts to move that fast in the freezing cold, we're apt to wind up with a little windburn at the end of the day which makes us look "outdoorsy" as well. An "outdoorsy" look, in my opinion, says "evolved". When I see a person with an authentic winter tan who hasn't been on a cruise, I think of him/her as someone who probably uses their intelligence, strength and spirit to, as everyone likes to say, "live out loud". A reader of real books. Possibly a wearer of expensive woolen socks. Probably  a late afternoon juice drinker and massage have-er.

I can't remember the last time I skated, and I am so unaccustomed to outdoor winter activities since I stopped "having to" ski, my first thought was: What will I wear?

Then, I thought about not being in my twenties anymore. I thought about how my right ankle hurts sometimes for no reason. I thought about the multiple surgeries I had on one leg until, eventually, they yanked my deteriorating kneecap and replaced it with a fake.While I'm not exercise-averse, I am cold-averse, willing to circle parking lots to secure the closest space possible to the door, start my car fifteen minutes before I leave the house, and refuse to check the temperature ahead of time knowing the information will just make me feel colder than I have to feel. 

Then, I accepted the invitation.

When I woke the next morning, my heart had opened to the idea. I thought about how some good things can only come from hard things. I thought about how I'll look back on it, now that my mental attitude toward performing is - for real - one of  participating over triumphing, and playing over winning. I thought about the many times I've reached an elusive goal the minute I stopped hitching my happiness to the end result and focused on the rest. What fun? That fun.


So now, I will buy another outfit. A warm one, or maybe a few pieces which I might layer and wear at the same time depending not on how cold it is (because I won't know that) but how cold it feels which is a much better guide. I particularly look forward to wearing the skates because, like ski outfits make us look more youthful and healthier, ice skates make everyone look like they at least plan to have fun.

Whatever happens, I will survive the cold, I may discover a new activity, and if nothing else, I will have nice, rosy outdoorsy cheeks when it's over and look like I could be meeting these people for lunch:

I don't know these people, but
 I'll bet their socks are nice


  1. I have never enjoyed skiing, since I was taken to the top of the mountain by a college boyfriend my second time ever trying it and left to fend for myself. I just don't get it - the cold, the wind, the falling, the getting wet...

    But I used to ice skate all the time - not easy to do anymore now that I live in Southern California!

    I say buy some cool socks anyway - you deserve them.

  2. I love skiing, even tho I'm not black diamond skilled. Maybe you're right, it's the outfits! I used to love skating on a frozen lake, indoors at a rink not so much. Be careful!

  3. Thank you, and I may wind up being so careful that I don't leave the car, but I'll try try try. And yes, cool warm socks will be the parting gift to myself.

  4. I was just talking to a girlfriend about ice skating in our youth! Gone are those days, now!

  5. A great reminder, Susan, to live life outside the box. I did ski when I was a young adult. These days, I'm a little nervous about skiing. I have a few friends that have been seriously injured on the slopes and I don't want to take the risk. Have fun skating. I can't wait to hear how it goes.