17 December 2015

The Power of a 'Good Day'

On my 17th birthday, I didn't know what to make of myself. For some reason, my entire life, I thought I was going to die at sixteen - most likely in an airplane accident. I cannot explain this feeling. But it was so strong that on the morning of the big 1-7, I was shocked to be awake.

The rest of that year - 2001 - I felt unsettled. Like I was wearing a sweater that was both too tight and too bulky. I just couldn't move.

In 2009, I turned twenty-five, and I felt the same sweater tightening around me. The year had started off poorly with a layoff, and I struggled with feeling useless and inadequate for months. I didn't know where I belonged or where to go next. For whatever reason, twenty-five - like seventeen - just didn't "fit" well either.

Seventeen. Twenty-five. Thirty-one.

Beginning half-way through my 28th year, I started working on my 30 Before 30 countdown, which propelled me past twenty-nine and into my thirties with a *bang*. I LOVED being thirty. I had been looking forward to it by telling people I was "almost 30" for nearly two years. Finally I WAS thirty! All was right with the world.

Then, suddenly, as if blindsided by simple math, thirty-one hit me like a ton of bricks. Where thirty had been no problem, the extra syllable - the one - was absolutely soul-crushing. And the big 3-1 birthday happened in the middle of a pretty bad year. In April I found out about Petra, my parasite, who I contracted on a not-so-great trip to Thailand at the beginning of 2015. I quit climbing in June, and I have yet to figure out how to fill the climbing-sized hole in my life. Petra was evicted eight months ago but I'm still not quite 100%. My tummy is still angry sometimes, I can't run as fast or as far as I could before, and I feel like I am overall less motivated and driven than before.

Which is why, seven months after my birthday, I can still hardly bring myself to utter my age as thirty-one. To say I'm looking forward to thirty-two would be a giant sweater-sized understatement.

I thought this was going to be happy blog Kristina? It is. To truly understand why yesterday was such an incredibly good day, I feel the need to qualify just how difficult this year has been for me. I feel like 2015 beat me up and spit me out and I'm still putting my parts back together. I'm making progress but it feels slow. And painful.

Even through all of this tumult, skiing has remained my happy place. And yesterday at Crystal Mountain I was in my happiest of places. For the first time in 2015 I truly felt alive. I felt like myself. Myself before Petra and the climbing-sized hole.

Theresa experiencing snow to the face.

Me going deep.

I don't want to discount the rest of 2015. I've had some good times. I climbed Shasta and traveled to Alaska and celebrated my four year anniversary of turns all year. But this day - this December the 16th - revived me in a way I didn't know was possible. It opened my eyes to what I've been missing and awoke something deep inside I had forgotten was there.


Rainbow hello.

Every run greeted us with fresh tracks. We never waited in line and skied powder all day long. I was filled with energy fueled by the snow flying every which way. With a sore face from smiling and throat dry from screaming, I could feel my insides swelling with warmth, even in the crisp winter air.

That's the power of a good day. It leads you back to yourself. Whether a good day to you means skiing freshies or hiking in the hills or curling up with a good book, I just want to say: go out and do it! I am so thankful I did, and I'm feeling hopeful that in 2016 this too-tight sweater that is thirty-one will loosen just a little until I can pull it off, and find myself again.

So happy to be 'home'.

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