To the surprise of no one, Gwen Bell announced that there would be no official Reverb11 this year. I’m disappointed — that was an excellent exercise for me. However, it was an excellent exercise for me, so I’m going to do it again this year. I wrote 31 prompts and I’m excited to start ending 2011.
Despite writing new prompts for myself, I want to begin this project with a nod to Reverb10. Today’s prompt comes from Kaileen Elise:
Where did 2011 begin?
Skiing is my big passion, so every year I eagerly wait for cold weather and snow so I can gleefully slide down a mountain. The year never really feels complete until the ski season ends, and this year that was especially true.
This year I was working as a ski instructor in the morning and cooking at night, leading to 60-70 hour work weeks, so the first third of 2011 is largely a sleep-deprived blur. However, by May the weather was finally too warm for the snow to hold up and Tahoe’s amazing 2010/2011 season came to an end. My year began a week later when I performed my end-of-season ritual with my roommate. That ritual pushed us from roommates to friends and hit the reset button for me, so my year began. I moved to Spokane within the week.
I’ve spent this year working to find my place here, trying to define my identity so clearly that I can take it anywhere without feeling like I’m starting over. I’m re-evaluating and rebuilding my core story, examining my beliefs and making room for a little more faith in myself, a little more self-compassion. It has not been an easy year, but last December I recognized that I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to change my life.
I’m not sure when 2012 will begin or how 2011 will end, but I do hope that I end 2011 with copious amounts of gleefully sliding down a mountain and begin 2012 feeling love and compassion for a new friend.
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How do you end the year? Are you participating in a reincarnation of Reverb or some other project? Share the links in the comments.
I have been lucky enough to ski with a lot of incredible skiers over the years, and even luckier to have skied with some very generous ski instructors. The ski season is approaching, and I’ll be at a new resort this year, meeting new people. However, I’ll miss sitting around the fire (or bar, depending) with my cocoa, talking shop with my former (and hopefully future) instructors.
I appreciate all the advice and encouragement I’ve received over the years. Their support and even love have always let me know that I belonged in the chairlift, that I was on the right path. I wouldn’t be the same skier or the same instructor without them, and I hope everyone has a great season this year.
Let it snow.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
The weekly reminder that I can and do make an effort to progress every week, no matter how frustrated I feel.
- I wrote three blog posts for my new skiing project. (This one surprised me — I felt like I’d been procrastinating on that project, but instead I made some progress.)
- I’m still paying attention to my emotions. It’s getting easier.
- I spent a little quality time with my roommate. We just drove into Coeur d’Alene and had dinner, but it was nice.
- I feel like I’m starting to make a friend at work and that I’m becoming a little friendlier with everyone I work with in general.
- I found a theme for 2012. That was completely unexpected; I wasn’t thinking about next year at all, but I think I’ll really enjoy my return to childhood.
I also saw some results from last week — I had a response to one of my job applications! I expect to hear more details next week.
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Honestly, it’s been a frustrating week. Before I found the Stevenson quote I’d never considered measuring my progress with anything but results; I appreciate the reminder that my effort is worthwhile.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Changes to my posting schedule made this a short week, but I still managed to plant a few seeds.
- I applied for a couple of jobs. I’m just not satisfied with my current position, so I’m trying to trade up.
- I was diligent about being attentive to my emotions.
- I participated in a feminist blog carnival! I didn’t expect it to be fun, but I enjoyed it.
- I had an idea for a new project that I’m excited about; skiing is my big passion, and this project is all about skiing. I plan to be able to share it on December 1st, if not sooner.
I find it helpful to take a few minutes each week to remember what efforts I made. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the progress I think I should be making or the results I think I should have, that I forget that progress and results depend on an initial action.
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What actions are you taking? How are you making progress?
I’m frustrated with my cooking job and have been for months now. I was actually contemplating quitting, going as far as discussing switching to full time at the ski area (They never, ever tell me no at the ski area. If I’m not getting what I want, it’s merely because I’m not asking the right questions.) and discussing the possibility with my supervisor at the restaurant. Instead the restaurant gave me some much-needed appreciation, which made quitting feel mean, and even though I’m not happy, I don’t feel any need to be vindictive.
So, I’m staying on for at least a few more months. I feel like I’m in a good position to ask for things and what I want is to work in nutrition and exercise science. I have some work to do before that can be a reality, but there’s no reason I can’t start the work now. I’d originally planned to talk to my boss about my continued employment, but instead we’re going to do some career enhancement. I do work with some talented people and I want to take advantage of their knowledge. One of my biggest issues with my job is I’m not learning enough, that this experience is just a job. I’m going to see if I can’t use this job to further my own goals. I think we’ll be able to find a mutually beneficial arrangement. I’m glad I’ve found a way to approach my boss that isn’t fueled by frustration and boredom.
Right now my end-goal is to use nutrition as a tool to make skiing a better experience. Ideally I’d like to be able to run multi-day clinics that offer advice on ski-specific nutrition, small-group ski lessons, and a whole-body approach to wellness. I see it as the logical result of the work I’ve been doing for the past several year and I think it will make me happy and allow me to live the life I want for myself.
What do you wish to say yes to?
My ski school underwent significant restructuring this season, making it a potentially challenging season. My wish for this season has been to say yes. Yes to any lesson they care to assign me to, yes to any clinic I am offered, yes to early outs, yes to any small act I can do to make this easier for all of us. I love working there and I want their experiences with me to be just as beneficial as my experiences with them.
Are we the best ski school in the country? Yes, I truly believe we are and I am grateful to be a part of it.
Reverb10: Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)
Skiing is my ordinary joy. The stand-out moment in 2010 was when one of the kids I teach, Annie, told me she loved me as she and her grandmother walked away. It was such a simple, sweet moment; I’m so happy she enjoyed skiing with me so much that she could say that as only a three-year-old can. Moments like that not only bring me joy, they assure me that I am on the right path.
However, that was not an ordinary moment and skiing provides me with plenty of ordinary moments of joy. Every time I ride up the chairlift and see my beautiful mountains unfold, or stand at the top and look at what I’m about to do. Every time I take a lesson that expands the mountain for me, or teach a lesson that helps someone turn for the very first time. I am lucky that I am able to spend my time doing something that brings so much joy into my life.
Except it’s not actually luck; I chose to have this life and I’ve worked to make it happen. People frequently tell me they wish they could ski as much as I do…they can of course, they’ve just made different choices. There are things I wish I could spend more time doing, but I haven’t made those choices yet. Maybe someday I will, but for now, I will take joy in my day-to-day adventure.
Reverb10: Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)
My future self? I think I’m too literal for this, so instead I’ll just describe my future self. In five years I’ll be 31, which seems unnecessarily committed to adulthood. I plan to return to school next fall, so five years from now I will finally be done with school and beginning my career. (Well, second career. I’m committed to teaching skiing and will likely continue to do it year after year. However, a seasonal job does not pay the bills.) I’d like to take a program at Bastyr University, but at the end of 2015, I’ll probably be ready to leave Seattle and begin my next adventure.
I’m returning to college, something I’ve never particularly enjoyed, because I think it will give me the tools I need to create an income from teaching people to love food. Right now I cook food, which certainly feeds people, but doesn’t go far enough to create the lasting love I create when I teach people to ski. I want to help people use food in both healthy and joyful ways — that is what I want to build in the next in five years.
And once I finish school and begin establishing my career, I want to begin planning my next adventure. I’m on the last leg of the fabulous Tahoe adventure, and there will be one more between here and the Seattle adventure. I want a location-independent career, so I never have to settle. In five years I want to decide between the Italian Alps, or the Canadian Rockies, or somewhere I have yet to even imagine.
Thirty-one might be more adult than I’d like, but it might also be a beginning.
Reverb10: Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)
I’m still struggling through yesterday’s prompt, but today? Today I knew immediately that I wanted to share one of my favorite ski videos. I can never articulate just why I love skiing so much, but I can tell you it feels like this:
Reverb10: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)
There are several moments, all of them important.
The first moment was less a moment and more a season; I made real progress with my skiing last winter and it showed itself in my ability to ski steeper, scarier terrain. I was able to enjoy some terrain that I never thought I’d be able to ski. I made some new mental connections and clarified exactly what I’m trying to do when I teach my own lessons*. I love skiing more than anything else and it shows.
Another moment came after taking some drugs and spending the evening in bed. I felt an incredibly strong connection to both my body and my partner and I want those connections (not necessarily that partner) to become a frequent part of my life.
The last moment also involved sex; a couple of months ago I had amazing chemistry with a casual encounter. I felt very comfortable trying new things and taking a few risks with him. I had a wonderful time with him and feel our night was something I’ve needed.
All three of these incidents brought me closer to my body via some sort of risk. I am not suggesting that I should make 2011 the year of stupidity and recklessness, but I need to pay more attention to my body and I need to be less afraid to take a few chances. I’ll be okay; I’ll actually probably be better.
*I am trying to teach people to use their bodies to find the same joy I do. I don’t want my clients to walk away with a few pleasant memories; I want them to walk away fully addicted and in love.