Mindful with Irene (19)

Am I missing something? Irene constantly asks herself this when she sees yet another cheery Facebook post of her friends on their skiing holiday. After years of turmoil and a gnawing sense of guilt that they never go skiing, Irene finally feels at ease this year. Thanks to colleagues and friends who openly dare to say: Actually, skiing isn’t all that great.

I’ve been once. I was sixteen and I went with my then boyfriend and his family. Skiing, cool, I thought. And I was pleased that I would finally be able to say, “I’ve skied.” Yet, I didn’t feel that positive after the actual holiday. The snow storm on the way there was hell, the ski lift was terrifying, and every time the whole family wanted to go back up the mountain for another run, all I could think was, “That’s enough for today already. Bring on the mulled wine.” I also remember a lot of muscle pain, and for years I was more than happy not to cross paths with that particular winter sport again. But in recent years, it has become rather remarkable: it seems like everyone goes skiing now. And as a result, I’m becoming more and more embarrassed. I feel like I’m robbing my kids of something special and am running a huge risk of missing out on the ultimate happiness. And so—you guessed it—that nagging waffling hits me again.

Until last week, that is, when I spoke with a few people, who all cured me of my “ski guilt.” A colleague who has been skiing for years, now finally dared to admit (to herself, too) that she doesn’t find it so great, and no longer has the will to lug around her heavy skis. And a friend told me that her husband and kids are off to the Alps soon, but that she has decided to stay home, because, “I do not like the cold.” And then there’s another friend who told me that she will let her kids go off snowboarding, while she sits and reads her books (and okay, takes the occasional stroll in the snow). A skiing holiday without the “skiing” – hmm, that doesn’t sound too bad. Is there a phrase for it yet? If not, I propose we baptize it “hibernation.” “Hey, are you going on a hibernation holiday this year?” Yup, that sounds great.

Irene, together with Astrid, is the founder of Flow Magazine. She lives with her children (10 and 13, co-parenting) in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Each Friday, she writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in her daily life.