A year or so ago we decided we wanted to learn how to ski. As New Hampshire residents and native New Englanders, it is almost a birthright, or rather, birth-obligation. So, we bought equipment and season's passes to the local hill and snapped ourselves on - we became "skiers" of the "just do it" school. Now, I have had skis attached to my feet at other times in my life. When I was 6 or so my older brother caught the bug, and my family supported his interest. I got to tag along until he grew old enough to continue his passion without parents and a little sibling cramping his style, or until I grew out of the ski boots bought for me in the initial parental expression of enthusiasm. My brother's son is now an internationally acclaimed and well known snowboarder, and my brother wins "senior" amateur races himself.
I was left behind. I "matured" without much further experience, but for a time or two on rented skis in another effort towards acheiving skill. It always just seemed like one of those things one should just be able to do and experience. A mysterious ability that seems to spring from nothing, like swimming or tennis, but that actually either develops effortlessly in childhood, or more painstakingly in adulthood. So, when one can not swoop and swoosh as one can clearly see all those other cool people on the slopes do, it gets discouraging, and expensive. Still, I decided that as long as I live here in the Northern reaches of the country, where snow covers the landscape for 4 months or so a year, I'll be damned if I'm not going to get out there and enjoy it!
Mastering a new physical skill at age 50 is a different experience than it as when I was young. Not bad. Just different. Progress is slow. It's about keeping at it, and trying not to be afraid of speed, lack of control, or of breaking a leg. Ha! But then, suddenly it seems after all, I'm sking down black diamond trails. It might not be pretty, really not pretty, but there I am, and it seems like the "just do it" school is worth enrolling in.