Learning How to Fall

I learned to ski when I was a little kid. My mom would drag my four year old brother and I out of our warm cozy beds, and drive us down to Middlebury Snow Bowl for ski lessons. We’d trudge through the parking lot to our lesson, dragging skis that weighed as much as we did.

The first thing they ever taught us was how to fall.

When you fall on skis, you want to fall with your skis underneath you. This makes it a lot easier to get back up if you can. If you can, you want to lean up the hill, so you’re head isn’t facing downhill when you land.  It’ll hurt a lot less if you bend your knees, and not topple over like a tree. It’s a good idea to curl up or sit down if you can instead of trying to break your fall with your arms (you’ll wind up just breaking your arms).

The second thing they taught us was how to get up.

When you want to get up, you have to get your skis facing across the hill, not downhill — so that you don’t keep sliding down. You want to reach toward the tips of your skis, so your weight is forward. You can kind of curl over your boots, with your hands on your knees and then stand up from there.

Seems like learning to fall, and learning to get up are two things that probably should come first in life. Nobody ever taught me how to fall in life. Falling in life just sort of happened.

Like the time I threw a birthday party and not a single person came.

Or the summer after I graduated from college and couldn’t get a single job interview for months.

Or after the miscarriage.

I wish somebody had taught me how to handle falling down in life, and not just on skis. It would have made learning how to get back up a hell of a lot easier.




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