There has never been a better time to embrace the weird, chaotic, beautiful mess that you are. Today is the day.
We are all constantly struggling with the questions that surround our daily lives. Who we are, what we are doing with our lives, and why we do what we do. This can range from something as simple as a casual encounter with another person to something as big as a career choice. No matter what it is, we are always trying to move forward and do what is best for ourselves. However, sometimes we lose sight of what is important, and what will make us the best version of ourselves. We are all able to recognize when we are at our best, but why is it so difficult to remember how we got there? Why is it so difficult to remember what inhibited us from reaching that point in the past, so that we do not make the same mistakes in the future?
For me, when I wake up feeling like the day is mine, it is directly related to three things: the individuals I have chosen to surround myself with, the amount of time I have spent in the mountains, and my ability to accomplish set goals.
Obviously, those three things span in many directions and cover a lot of ground. However, whenever I feel down, I immediately am able to recognize that one or all of those things has been missing from my life and has been replaced by something foolish and shallow. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we consume products that we know are bad for our health? Why do we put up with people who make us feel terrible? Why do we stay with a job that makes us dread getting up in the morning? Even if you seem to have it all, are you really focusing on what is best for you, or are you focusing on a trend?
Living in a ski town for the past 4.5 years has been extremely eye-opening in terms of life goals and outside pressure. It is no secret that everyone in Jackson loves skiing (or any other form of intense outdoor activity) and everyone loves to party. Both being obviously fun things to have in your life. However, I have found that these things start to take over so much that it is easy to forget about all the other beautiful things in life. Are people afraid to admit they have other interests and plans for their lives, or is skiing and partying truly what makes some people fulfilled and happy? I honestly don’t know. For myself, I am realizing more and more than what makes skiing my number one passion is the fact that it enables me to get out into the mountains, meet amazing people, and push myself to accomplish goals…all three things that create my happiest self. There have definitely been times that my love for skiing has been lost in a crowd of pressure – whether that be to compete, look a certain way, ski a certain size and shape of ski, or ski a line that I may not be ready for. Living in Jackson has definitely been a test of true character.
Skiing is by far my biggest passion in life. I have never had a day of skiing when I don’t leave the mountains feeling fulfilled and free. I am forever humbled by the mountains, I have the utmost respect for the mountaineers and the skiers that have dedicated their lives to learning about the mountains. So, why does skiing alone not lead to my ultimate happiness?
It is always interesting to see the seasons change and how people change with them. Fortunately for those of us out west, we have opportunity to ski all year round. However, there is a much greater need for a second satisfaction in the off-season. For me, it is a time of reflection for what is next and what I am really doing with my life. It is easy to lose track of everything else in my life when I am so focused on what the conditions will be like the following day, where I am going to ski, etc. etc..
Every day, I read about or meet an athlete that is on their route to extreme success. I have so much admiration for these athletes, and have no doubt in my mind that they spend every single day of their life working towards their goals as a professional athlete. This time could be spent in the gym staying strong to succeed and prevent injury, it could be spent on the phone or computer contacting sponsors and making professional connections, or it could be spent training regionally or globally. A few years ago, that is what I wanted to do with my life, and have realized over the past few years that I am happier to be out and about for myself, for enjoyment, and on my own terms. I have never been as talented as most of the athletes that surround me, and I have found that for myself, I need more in my daily life to feel satisfied. Embarrassing or not to admit, I enjoy academics, and I would like to use my education to make my living. I enjoy keeping my passions and love for the mountains separate from my career – and I think that is okay. We all know what works best for us, and if I felt that being an athlete would make me happy, that is what I would be doing.
So, I am back to the drawing board. What the hell am I doing? I live in one of the most amazing places in the country, I have great friends, I have a great job, and I even have a regional sponsorship with a brand that I have loved since I was in elementary school. So…what is the issue?
I know that this may all seem a bit jumbled, but I guess that because for the first time in my life, there is nothing keeping me in one place, I am able to consider making choices for myself, and no one else.
Living in a small town you realize that no matter how much respect you give others, or how hard you work to retain positive relationships with others, there will always be something or someone pushing back in the other direction. Your twenties are a time to focus on your own needs, and everyone has a right to be selfish at times. That means you put yourself first by working hard and respecting yourself. It does not mean that you put yourself first by knocking others out of the way. It seems often that those two things get mixed up.
I think that the true test for your own happiness is if you are able to be happy for other’s successes. Yes, many people will surpass you, and yes, many people may achieve goals after one year that you have not accomplished after five years. No matter how a situation may seem, you will never truly know how much work someone else has put towards a goal, or the reasons behind someone’s aspirations. We all have a story, and in most cases, no one ever really knows someone else’s story front to back.
So. Today is the day. Be the best version of yourself. If you find yourself feeling resentment towards a good friend when they share a success, you need to take another look at your own life. Clearly you are focusing on the wrong things. All those questions we have; who the hell am I, what am I doing with my life, and why do i make the decisions that i make? Who the f*** knows! No one has all the answers, and we are all trying to figure out the same life. I think that is the biggest thing to realize. We are all in this together. Life is grand. Don’t give up your passions, but don’t let them become a chore rather than an enjoyment. Recognize two things in your life that ALWAYS make you happy and never let those disappear from your weekly routine. Admit your wrongs; we all have them, and all you can do is own them and not make the same mistakes again. Recognize who is good for you and who is not.
Use other’s strengths and successes to motivate yourself, not to make you feel like you are worth less. Use those hurtful times or failures in life to steer you in a different and better direction. Get outside. Eat something green (but don’t overdo the kale, that is a mistake). Put effort into those who put effort into you. Call your mom. Don’t hold on to hate, it is an incredibly large waste of time and emotion. You’re pretty fucking great – don’t waste your potential.
Remember, “Seek respect, not attention. It lasts longer.”
Today is the day. Rock it.