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How Skiing Made Me a Better Person
This month I began work as a lift operator at a ski resort in Utah. I maintain the ramps that you ski on to load or unload the lift; manage the buttons that start, stop, and control the speed of the lift; and bump chairs on fixed-grip lifts, meaning I hold back the chair to slow it down for you on lifts where the chair remains at full speed in the loading zone. My job is simple. My life is really simple. When work ends, I stop thinking about it. There is no homework or work outside of work. My headspace is free on my off time. On my days off, I ski, and all of my energy and thought goes towards existing presently in those moments. I love my job and I love what my job enables me to do: ski. I am simply and purely happy. I worry that this happiness is situational and that when I go back to a higher-stress, faster-paced, more real-world environment I will revert back to a more stressed, closed-off, success-oriented version of myself. My environment here has changed me: I am less anxious and stressed, I live entirely in the present, and I have built stronger foundations for friendships and hobbies than ever before by prioritizing them. My goal for this winter is to keep identifying the ways that my environment has changed me and solidify these changes into who I am so I can keep being this better version of myself no matter my environment. I am still figuring out how to accomplish this goal, but I think the answers are consciousness and habit. If I’m aware of how I’m acting and changing, I am in control and can consciously make choices that are in line with who I want to be. Making those positive choices over and over again will make acting on those traits and values habit, which will make those traits and values a part of me with time. My current environment is one of a kind: my colleagues are ski bums, our work attire is Under Armor, we ski on work breaks and days off, and I have boots and a helmet in my backpack instead of books. I am living my dream, but the best part is the change in myself I am seeing when I’m doing what I love all the time. I hope that these positive changes will stick and remind me of this winter for the rest of my life.