Before embarking on what was a physically intensive Queenstown adventure, I was a little nervous and my brain was manufacturing an unsanitary amount of fear, generating a stream of all the worst possible scenarios I could find myself in. You know, like breaking my leg or tumbling down a snowy cliff in the direction of death. I couldn’t flick off the dramatic switch. Fortunately, there was still a healthy dose of excitement flowing through my veins, enough to feel the fear and do it anyway.
My first taste of skiing can be traced back to year 8 ski camp (over a decade ago), a time when fear didn’t latch on quite as easily. That’s the beauty of pre-adolescent fearlessness. Boy, I miss that. I’m not what you would describe as athletic or sporty, quite the contrary actually. So, this skiventure was an experiment – a grave attempt to recapture that gung-ho pre-teen spirit, activate my inner adventurer and slide out of the comfort zone I’ve accidentally barricaded myself in. I saw it as a metaphor for life itself – If I could conquer the mountains unscathed, I could mimic that leap of faith for everything else.
Day one on The Remarkables was borderline tragic. The initial two-hour ski lesson was a blatant reminder of my lack of coordination. And so, what began enthusiastically ended in sheer frustration due to the fact that my body and brain were failing to sync. Finally, after a few more hours of coaching from the bf, I redeemed my confidence and I was eager to explore another beginner run to practice my brain and leg coordination. My partner – the self-appointed navigator – ushered me to what we later realised was an intermediate run when I was falling and tumbling and falling and tumbling endlessly down an icy slope into a pit of ineffable distress. Given the speed at which I was falling, I was certain it was going to end in a nasty collision/injury or both. My skis had flung off by the time gravity caught me and my partner was probably fearing the worst. I was traumatised to say the least and my nemesis, fear, was latching on tighter than ever. We decided to take a day off from the mountains so that I could recover mentally. Trust me, if you were there…
I honestly don’t know if I would have displayed as much resilience if I had sustained any serious injuries; thankfully, it didn’t come to that. Anyway, TAKE 2 on The Remarkables ended on a more joyous note.
After mastering the beginner runs and being reassured that I was physically capable of completing a blue run, I nervously accepted the challenge. I stood at the top of the mountain, jittery as ever. The bottom of the hill was no longer in sight – suffice to say, the hill was steep af for a beginner. My palms were sweaty, I felt like an inflatable, arm-flailing tube man and my stomach was engaging in a little fear-induced gymnastics. After giving myself the standard ‘you got this, quit being a pussy’ pep talk, I sliced through the snow, eager to collect a confidence boost at the bottom of the mountain. And I did, only after adding to the fall count, of course. Not that it matters. The point is that I eye-balled fear and emerged victorious – I felt as accomplished as a kid who’s just mastered the concept of riding a bike.
SO, If your nerves are slowly fabricating a ball of fear at the thought of venturing outside the comfortable, consider the barrel of good feels waiting for you on the other side. Don’t suppress your desires and deprive yourself of what could possibly be a life-changing experience or quite simply a new favourite pastime. Don’t let fear be the decision maker – it’ll only spell regret.