I used to love skiing. I would still love skiing if my knees agreed. Sadly, they do not like skiing, so my choices are to shop in the cool little boutiques at ski resorts or just enjoy sitting by a fire with a big cup of coffee, a hot buttered rum or a glass of red wine. If the sun is out, I’ll go shopping, thank you. Otherwise, you’ll find me by the fire reading a book on my Kindle or chatting with a friend.
Bad knees happen. So what? My husband and I have friends our age who still enjoy skiing. We can’t ski, but we love being at ski resorts, so we’re happy to just hang out.
Way back in 1972, I went to Aspen, Colorado for my landmark 21st birthday, right after Christmas. My parents took me with my brother, sister and cousin. They rented a fabulous little house on Buttermilk Mountain and then let all of us kids just go ski our butts off while they hung out at home. I remember thinking they must have been really bored; but they had friends staying in town. One night, we all drove into Aspen for dinner, and we took two cars. After dinner, “the folks,” who were in their 50’s, joined their friends at a famous bar while we kids went clubbing. Needless to say, they went home before we did.
The next morning, my cousin awoke early and discovered my dad downstairs in the kitchen. While the rest of us, including Mom, slept off our hangovers, Dad shared with his niece about his and Mom’s adventure on the streets of Aspen the night before. After dinner, walking to the car, Mom had slipped on the ice and fallen. Dad tried to pull her up and he went down. Their friend had tried to pull Dad up and he went down too. His wife asked strangers for help. Before the cops got there, at least six more people over the age of 40 were in a pile on the sidewalk with Mom and Dad, most of them feeling no pain thanks to those great warm drinks or fine wines. The younger people standing and trying to help were enjoying the party atmosphere. Thankfully there were no broken hips. Apparently everyone on the ground was laughing and making friends for about 45 minutes until the police and EMT’s came to save the night.
My dad was still telling that story to hospital staffers a week before he died in 2009. Honestly, thinking about it has made me feel a lot better about not being able to ski any more. Life brings us so many challenges and choices that feel awful in the moment. We can choose to smile or cry. I choose still to visit beautiful Aspen and other ski resort towns, and to smile, shop till I drop (the way my mom did), and have a hot buttered rum. Have you had a similar experience?