Life is Like a Pair of Water Skis

Is life really like a box of chocolate? Nah, it’s more like a pair of water skis.

Let me show you how:

For starters, you’ve ever water-skied before, you’re probably familiar with how it starts off rather awkwardly. You start in the water, crouched in a small ball with your two skis wobbling around, knocking and crossing each other while trying to tame the twisted ski rope. After you’ve battled the wakes from the obnoxious wake boarders passing by, you hesitantly give the signal to your boat driver to ramp up the engine.

Life connection? Sometimes, we’re not too graceful and we find ourselves bouncing along with whatever comes our way. Yet, we can’t just sit in these clumsy, stagnant places forever; we have take chances and choose to try, even when things feel shaky.

You cling to the rope, lock your knees, and brace your body; for the hardest part about skiing is getting up. Your skis tempt you toward the left and right, yet you stay the course and keep the tips directed ahead. Water splashes all around you, and for a moment you can’t see what’s next; but you faithfully continue to press on despite the unknown set before you. Sometimes we just have to keep moving, even if we’re unsure of what’s ahead.

Suddenly, the tension lifts as you spring upward. Relief and joy flood over you, and a big smile takes over your face. You soon, however, come face to face with new challenges ahead, and brace yourself for another adventure. See, the task here is to keep your skis parallel and firmly pointed directly ahead of you. As with life, y ou end up moving in the direction your focus takes you.

The journey continues as you navigate the wake, bounce over crashing waves, and dodge dead fish, sticks, and other random debris. You fight the fatigue in your legs, look past your white knuckles, and continue to keep the tips of your skis pointed ahead. Instead of preoccupying on any pain or discomfort, you instead shift your focus outward, and choose to squeal with delight as nature’s beauty and wonder pass you by. Life hurts sometimes, but it doesn’t have to rob you of your joy.

From here, a streak of boldness and courage may set in, propelling you to shed a single ski from the pair. You lift one ankle, slide your foot out into the free air, and swiftly (yet perhaps clumsily) guide it towards the back of your new slalom. Now, with less restraints and greater range, you continue to flow and skate along the waters of life.

Here, you learn to roam and glide without fear dictating next steps or holding you back; you begin to dance and sway in step with freedom.

At some point, a crash, stumble, or fall out is inevitable; for no one can sustain adventures like these for long periods of time without succumbing to natural burdens. And, it’s always OK to gracefully let go when it’s time to rest. There will always be fresh starts and new opportunities to try again, for freedom is not bound by our physical limitations, mistakes, or perceived failures.

What does skiing teach us about life? Don’t give up, be bold, and keep your focus ahead without loosing sight of what’s around you. As long as you keep the tips of your skis pointed ahead, you won’t crash. But if you do, no worries — the waters are gracious and forgiving — just don’t forget to pick up the rope and try again.

Originally published at

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