If you’ve been keeping track, by now you’ve probably detected my love (obsession?!) with cross-country skiing. This hasn’t always been the case. Like most people I tried it once or twice as a younger person, but it never stuck. In fact, throughout junior high and high school my winter sport was actually wrestling.
However, four winters ago a friend I know through a mutual passion (Aikido) offered me a job working at a Lake Tahoe cross-country ski center. I eagerly agreed because at the time I was only working 1-2 shifts per week at an outdoor recreation retailer and needed to make some extra money. I also thought it would be a fun and free way to learn how to cross-country ski. I learned how to snowboard during my first winter in Tahoe (2005/06) working at a downhill resort, but after a few seasons I realized I didn’t care so much for gravity sports. I actually like going uphill more than downhill!
Who knew where that one simple offer my friend made me back in the winter of 2014/15 would lead to? Since then I’ve been hooked! I won’t bore you with the myriad reasons for my love of the art because they are the same reasons anyone pursues a passion. However, suffice it to say that this experience has been in line with how I’ve lived my life – curiosity gets the best of me and I dive down the rabbit hole, I become proficient and experienced at whatever I’ve gotten myself into, and then I shape my words and world in the image of that current passion.
Overall, this diversity of interests has enabled me to become fluent in many “languages” because there are so many overlapping and common principles behind all disciplines. For example, the body movement required to properly execute the diagonal striding technique of classic cross-country skiing now informs the way I move a brush loaded with ink over paper, as well as how I perform some of the techniques I’m learning in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (which I train in rather infrequently – there’s only so many hours in a day!). The fluidity of movement I achieve on cross-country skis over variable terrain influences how I apply design principles to the infographics, icons, and templates I create for my collection of Tahoe Swag or write an article, such as this.
This curiosity, and the beginner’s mind inherent with it, is the essence of my process for remaining youthful in mind and body. I admit that trying to describe “who I am” becomes dizzying for people because I can’t outline a clear life plan that I’ve been adhering to. I’m kind of a freak in that respect, but even just spending an hour with me tends to provide enough information for a person to determine whether or not they want to come back for more. For better or worse this also applies in the realm of dating, and mostly they don’t come back. Ha!
I don’t say this as a warning to avoid me or to impress upon you just how intense I can be, because I really am laid back. However, over time I’ve learned that passionate types either draw people to themselves or repel people away. Ultimately, though, they’ve made for the best of friends because they maximize every moment of their lives, are committed to expanding their minds and expressing their souls, and they don’t tolerate a bunch of drama and nonsense. And every once in a while they offer me a new job.