When I saw the sunny, calm forecast at Mammoth Mountain, I couldn’t help it. Saturday afternoon, I jumped in the car and buzzed up to one of my favorite places in the world – my in-laws’ cabin in Mammoth Lakes. And on Sunday, less than 9 months after knee reconstruction surgery, I went skiing.

Friends will face-palm when they hear this. Like, did I not learn my lesson? But I did:

  1. Be patient learning a new skill. I started skiing on New Year’s Day and was quick to pick it up. My ego LOVED this. Instead of consolidating by refining my technique and skills on the bunny slopes, every time the option came up to try a new, harder run, I said yes! I said yes, all the way to the top of the mountain, to black diamond runs and finally, stupidly, to Dave’s Run where I shredded my right ACL.

This time, I am spending time on the lower slopes, feeling out my turns, my balance, the movements my body makes. I’m bringing my senses and awareness to skiing, rather than just my ego.

  1. Be honest with myself. A few times when I was skiing last season I would push past feeling tired. If you’re super experienced this is probably not such an issue, but as a newbie, this was stupid. This week when I felt my quads trembling after a couple dozen runs, I called it.

There is a pushy, competitive part of me that struggles to forego an experience in order to rest or avoid injury. But the older I get the gentler I become with myself. That part of me still exists, but it’s on the board of directors rather than CEO.

  1. Don’t worry about what other people think. Being pretty good at skiing made me extra happy because my boyfriend is a phenom skier. I cringe now, but I wanted to impress him. This, combined with ego, adrenaline, endorphins and pushy inner voices, drove me to make poor decisions.

Sounds stupid, but I have to trust that he will love and accept me even if I’m fluffing around on the bunny slopes, or if I skip a day, or if I say no to something that scares the heck out of me.

  1. I’m lucky. To have access to the excellent Australian medical system, darling family and friends who support me, and amazing conversations and insights that have come with enforced patience and a drawn-out recovery process.
  2. I never want that to happen again. I’m going to watch my ego, and stay true to myself. On the slopes and off.