This trip to Japan has been all that I dreamed of and more. It is so easy to get extremely attached to our goals, to feel that we have to push and push to get there. Sometimes we forget to slow down and enjoy the journey, not just the destination. I wanted to take this trip to reorient myself, to step away from the grind, and to realize that life is what you make it. At the start of this season my dad underwent a stem cell transplant (the modern technique for what used to be a bone marrow transplant). I was filled with uncertainty about how he would come out of it, of how my mom would deal with helping him; I was uncertain as to how I would handle skiing and competing knowing that my parents were in Connecticut struggling with this monster. But I did what I've always done in challenging times: focus on the things that need to be done, then proceed one step at a time. I tried not to get too far ahead of myself, but I couldn't help setting high expectations for every event, still expecting perfection, and being frustrated when I didn't reach it.
The last 3 weeks before coming to Japan were long. We had 3 major events back to back: X-Games, World Championships and then Dew Tour. Though my skiing was feeling great, I didn't end up with a win at any of them. This trip to Japan has shown me that the "win" isn't what matters. I showed up to every contest and tried my hardest. I put everything on the line, and I am skiing better than ever before. If I had the ability to only focus on my performance in those moments and not get distracted by my competitors, I think I would have felt better about things. So thank you Japan, for providing this insight.
Here's how it happened: I left my "life" in Salt Lake City, I abandoned my "life" in the halfpipe, I distanced myself from my "life" as a pro skier and realized that "LIFE" was still continuing on. Here I was in Japan, in one of the most beautiful and inspiring countries on this earth, and I wasn't competing. I had nothing to prove to anyone, I could just be in the mountains skiing for me. Appreciation overwhelemed me and I found myself thanking the mountains, trees, and snow for being there for my enjoyment. I began to feel extremely connected to my surroundings because I had taken a minute to realize that this is a "life" experience. When you step away from what you consider life, and you realize you're still alive- that's when you can really start living.
I think this is something that we all need to do more of. It is something that my dad and mom have certainly realized through their journey. We all get attached to goals, to performance, to success and we end up overcommitting, trying to please everyone and sometimes forgetting to just please ourselves. Yes, life is short, but it is what it is. We all need to slow down, to just be happy where we are for a minute, to breathe, to take in our surroundings, to be grateful for the gifts we have been given. Life isn't about crossing all your goals off your list, it is about loving every minute you are alive.
My dad crossed his 100 day mark from his stem cell transplant while I have been on this trip. He and my mom are doing exceptionally well and for that, I am so grateful. They have both helped me so much in realizing all of my dreams and I feel so lucky to have them as parents. I know that they are both excited for the new privileges that come with this 100 day milestone, like the possibility of socially interacting with other people, and sharing a bed for the first time again. What got them through, and what gets us all through, is focusing on the good, focusing on the plenty that you have and not the little that you don't have. Thanks mom and dad for being such an inspiration to me. I love you both dearly.
And thank you all for reading. I wish you the happiest life you can imagine!