A New Year

Just a week ago, I wrote https://lawnchairair.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/083015/ about how my attitude towards snowboarding had changed.

Today was the first official day of university and with it heralds the end of summer-the imminent rise of winter. The forecast for BC’s been depressing-El Nino, the worst that has ever been seen-don’t expect much this winter. Three months until the usual opening of ski resorts. The beast was unleashed. 

No-I felt fairly sad. If I had so much free time to snowboard or ski, what was I doing with my future? It was wrong, rationally. But you know what? Feelings didn’t change from the first year that I snowboarded. I was still as excited as I ever was, despite of or for the future; post the usual summer depression slump, I was elated for winter.

The difference was I had things to look forward to in the summer now: hiking, backpacking, biking. Unlike the past years of my life, I had a way to combat that summer depression and make the El Nino forecast more palatable. But in other ways it just makes it more devastating: the skills I gain from summer outdoor activities find their winter counterparts lackluster from the lack of snow; I can’t fully reach my potential in slush. Just when life gets better, the snow gets worse. Global warming? Weather cycles? Any way, I’d love to snowboard every year in the future as long as my body can take it, but university is probably the most free time I’ll get. Even if it’s unjustified. I need it for my happiness.

Riding a bike down a hill and realizing that this lazy bum was slightly less lazier than before, the feeling felt remarkably similar to cruising down a snowy hill. In fact, I could almost confuse the two feelings. I had felt it before on an earlier summer bike ride, the heroics of which I will never replicate for probably a year, while I get over the terror of riding 60km over ridiculously hilly terrain. I wouldn’t deny it, but it was so much harder. And so good for you. Ride that, ride anything better. I let my laziness get in the way of bettering my snowboarding. And with the poor weather, you had better get used to spending less time on snow and compensating on land.

Anxiety and depression came together to me that morning as school started for every student young and old and I had had depressing thoughts last night. Thinking about how I wanted to be back in first year, with a less illustrious life but at least naive and happy about what I had. Being depressed and angry that 2012/2013 was a good snow year, as were many during my childhood, but I had never been allowed to ride it, even though I worked to have enough money to do it. More regretfully though I thought about how I should have seized that year, to ride more with my friend, who can’t ski much anymore. Digging for my ski pass in the morning, mindful of the Sept 15 deadline to renew my pass for merely $60 due to last year’s poor season, I thought about how much of a burden snowboarding was. All of my depression and anxiety and nearly failing the year had to do with that-not snowboarding perse, but my parent’s disapproval. I mouthed to myself, All of this is because of snowboarding, and I found the pass I thought I had lost. If I really had, I would have to pay an extra $60 to replace it and the guilt of it would kill me. Instead, I found it, thought about my year last year, and I cried.

I had to hide my passion for it constantly, so much I made it my reality. I was angry towards people that acted like I was too passionate about it, because that would blow my ruse. I cried for how I could never really enjoy snowboarding with one of my friends, because of the trouble I got into. In the end I was so angry to be snowboarding with her, because of the inevitable pain at home. But inside, it was the greatest joy I ever knew. To be with others who are enjoying it just as much as you, that understand the joy, and on a deeper level, connect with you-I can’t think of anything more powerful than that. It’s no longer the lone highest pleasure of life, but it still remains on par with the other joys in life I’ve discovered-it is still an essential element of my life, the winter counterpart of summer backpacking or biking.

No matter how hard I’ve tried to kill it, I love snowboarding. And hiking. And backpacking. And biking, even if I suck at all of these things. These are all essential to my identity, the way I function, as someone who enjoys trying new things with other people and collaborating and being outside and being hedonistic in a innocent sense. I don’t need to point these aspects of myself out to other people any more, but I’d be happy to if it was in the spur of the moment. Unlike hiking, snowboarding’s got more showmanship.

Anyways, I was holding my pass and crying because I went through shit to have it, and I will continue to suffer for having it. And hopefully after the suffering I will be better for it. I regret nothing, and most of all, I cherish the friendships I made through snowboarding dearly. Because they’re all outstanding people to me, people who have something special about them that make them yearn for faraway places and cold and exhilaration. A little bit crazy but smart. If anything, that’s what snowboarding gives me. People and places to love. The more love, the better your life.

And after that, I didn’t feel depressed. I felt elated.

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