Much Too Young to Feel This Old

goals health skiing well-being Mar 31, 2022
Photos of Charis Santillie skiing in 2022
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🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #008 here.

I remember standing in the gym less than a year ago, working out for the first time in years.

Tears welled up in my eyes. I suddenly realized how weak I was. My body had been hurting in many ways for many months. And now came the harsh reality.

Sadness overwhelmed me. And then came shame, disappointment, and frustration. 

I was 45 years old, and the words of a Garth Brooks song perfectly summarize how I felt: “I’m much too young to feel this damn old.”

I cried, and then I felt a tiny whisper of thought that came as a feeling and a knowing – that somehow, someway, this was going to change.

I decided I wasn’t going to feel this way anymore, and I decided that I would not throw away a dream of going skiing again.

Snow skiing was something I have always loved; I learned how at just 5 years old. 

Yet I hadn’t gone skiing in about 10 years. As each ski season continued to pass by, I honestly wasn’t sure I’d feel good enough and strong enough to ever ski again. Maybe I needed to just let go of that dream.

But then, there was always this little hope inside me of how much fun it would be to go up a chair lift, feel that cool air on my nose, stop at the top to gaze at the phenomenal vistas, then feel a rush as I carve my way down the mountain.

Flashback to nearly 30 years ago…My best friend was a bodybuilder who competed in the Emerald Cup, and she taught me how to weight train properly. So I knew what to do and what was possible, yet I knew I emotionally needed help to make it happen.

I asked my husband if he would train me, and I said, “please just tell me what to do.” He was thrilled to finally have me in the gym; he had tried for years to get me to join him.

Not only is Don a patient trainer, but I also got to exercise my cheeks because he makes me laugh A LOT.

Slowly but surely, I gained strength.

Then one day, I had the idea to visit friends who had a vacation home in the mountains of central Washington. We all got excited, and I also set a goal of being in ski shape by then.

I felt like a little kid going through all my ski stuff and getting everything ready. 

I even got my Dad’s fluorescent (hello 1980’s) jacket tailored to fit me. He hadn’t worn it since before our hot air balloon accident nearly 30 years ago, yet he loved it so much that he hadn’t gotten rid of it. When I saw it during my holiday visit, I thought, wow, how special would it be to wear this jacket when I go skiing again, and now I was packing it in my bag.

As I carried my skis to the local sports shop to get them tuned up, I remember feeling strong lifting and moving them. It was a noticeable difference from just months before.

The week before our trip, my girlfriend texted me that there hadn’t been any new snow. I told her that I still wanted to go as long as the conditions were decent and there weren’t rocks everywhere. And then I wrote, “Maybe the Universe will surprise us with some fresh snow before we arrive (that doesn’t challenge our travel) 😉”

Guess what?! The weekend before our trip, they got a lot of fresh snow, yet the weather was clear for our travel. And our ski day was a dream come true with sunshine and fresh snow.

The anticipation was genuinely remarkable.

OMG, the flood of memories with every step of the process – years of fun times on the slopes with my parents when I was a kid. 

It felt exhilarating as I easily got into the rhythm of skiing down a mountain again. 

Yet I think the best way to describe how I felt is to share the words of a song that ran through my mind that entire day.
✨ I am the light of my soul
✨ I am beautiful
✨ I am bountiful
✨ I am bliss
– Sirgun Kaur & Sat Darshan Singh

How do you feel in your body these days? Is there anything in your life you are longing to do, BUT you either have a mile-long list of reasons
(maybe excuses?...), or you truly don’t know if you can do it? What if you’re wrong? What if it was possible?

P.S. Above are some photos of my recent ski trip with my girlfriend, Laura, and her son, plus some snapshots from my childhood trips with my parents. Below are ski pins I collected as a kid. (The “OH SHIT” pin was my Mom’s 😂)

“If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.” 

– Warren Miller, famous for his ski & snowboarding films

🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #008 here.

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