Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Hither, thither, far and yonder. Life has been an utter whirlwind this past week.

I've slept in my own bed once in this time, the rest has been spent elsewhere between Canaan Valley and Shepherdstown for my multitude of jobs and trainings for said jobs. I've experienced a wide spectrum of emotion as a result of so much activity, but ultimately, my morale is high and my smile is wide.

Last Thursday was a flurry of controlled chaos at my office. A meeting and some critical upcoming deadlines had me scrambling all day. I departed at 2p for Kenai's vet appointment which turned into two hours of tumultuous emotions, x-rays telling of an injury my vet has never seen in her many years, and three prescription drugs. Kenai is okay, though he'll be living in the slow lane for a time. 

From the vet I wound my way through town to the barn to meet my new lesson student and several generations of her family for her second lesson. The joy and excitement in her eyes and evident in her smile began to turn my crazy day right around. The raw emotion of a child is such a contagious thing!

I whisked out of town after my lesson, heading to the Valley for a long-awaited concert. I stopped briefly by a friend's house to drop Kenai off before we headed to meet another friend for dinner prior to the sold out show. Good conversation, great company, and some utterly outstanding music (not absent of a few yummy beers) turned my day around for good. Dancing, laughing, and whirling with wonderful people is the best kind of medicine. 

Friday was a day of ski patrol between two mountains; day shift on one, a short 5 minute drive with my ski boots on, then night shift at the other. I'd plans for a lazy morning followed by grand adventure the next day, but was shanghai'd in the parking lot upon my departure from the second mountain and talked into skiing for a few hours the following morning. It seemed that word of my negative experience with a ski clinic weeks prior had gotten around to some key ears who wanted to do right by me. I don't know what I've done to earn the friendships and respect from others on our patrol, but wow. Just wow. These folks continue to be some of my most favorite. I'm fortunate to have such role models to mentor me in my quest to be a better human.

And so I rolled out of bed a bit grumbly the next morning and hopped on my skis for a few hours with this new instructor. Jay was a breath of fresh air for me compared to my prior experience. He put my mental game back where it needed to be, introduced me to some new tools, and helped push me forward in the direction I needed to go with my skiing. How outstanding. I was so very happy I'd sacrificed my morning to make time for this experience. 

After two hours of mental reset and work on my ski skills, I shook Jay's hand and genuinely thanked him, a big smile on my face before I whisked away to a second grand adventure. You see, the sun was high, the skies were blue, and the temperatures were warmer than they had been in many weeks. Seneca Rocks was begging to be climbed, and fortunately for me, I'd found a climbing partner eager for the same adventure.

Dave and I quickly amassed climbing and ski gear into his Subaru and made the short commute from the Valley to Seneca. We were on rock by noon, at the summit by 3p, and back at the car and on our way to night shift for ski patrol by 3:45p. We were both more energized than we'd been in days, maybe weeks from the time spent climbing. Something about sandstone and sun is good for the body. The phrase most commonly uttered from us throughout our three pitches to the summit was, "I fucking love this shit," as giant perma-grins adorned our faces. 

We booted up quickly for night shift once at the resort, and even made last day-chair on the lift. I ate dinner once at the top, snagged a cat nap, and then set about for some outstanding night skiing on unlighted trails. My senses protested the darkness and lack of sight, but with time I adjusted; my senses adapted to the darkness.

Post-work, beers were enjoyed, the hot tub was utilized, and sleep was oh-so-sweet. Two mountains skied, three pitches climbed, three summits had been obtained in a round-about way. How fortunate I am to live in such an area where all can be accomplished in one day!

Sunday morning was long and lazy, the perfect compliment to the previous day's activities. By evening, I was making the three-hour trek east for two days of training for my biologist job. 

Hither, thither, far and yonder. It's been a wild whirlwind, but it's really made me think and reflect on somethings...

Doing is living. Risk is necessary for success.  Doing and risking open up so many opportunities. You must try and give and then give a little bit more in order to get what you want. It is both exhausting and totally fulfilling to live life this way. It is completely worth it in the end, however. I've got stories from experiences many would kill to have. I'm stressed at times, but the cost is far outweighed by benefit; I gain more and more opportunities and more and more open doors. I sacrifice a little, give a little, and gain so much.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I challenge you to push away from your comfort zone and see what you can accomplish; I'd love to hear your stories.

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