Back in 2012, I wrote about my disastrous introduction to skiing. During all-day ski school in Colorado on my first time on skis, I became wracked with fear, constantly trying to slow my speed so I could better control my direction. All I could think about was not wrecking because I had too much to do to be laid up with a broken leg.
After venting about it to my friend and expert skier Kjerstin Klein, I learned a halting ski style itself is a problem. Just like riding a bike, stability and control on skis happens when you relax and move forward at a good clip, not when you desperately apply the brakes.
Mt. Lebanon’s Class of 2020 commencement speaker, Patrick Anderson, nailed it when he said: “We’ve seen enough in our lives to be crippled by our fears and doubts. But we must realize that fear will be with us for the rest of our lives. It isn’t going anywhere. And everyone who has been successful or done something amazing has moved through the fear, not around it.”
And so it is with all of us. At the moment that we begin to dig in hard amid disease, uncertainty, grief and worry, disrupted school schedules and unfulfilled celebrations, perhaps that is the moment to move forward in some way. Find a new path, forge a new beginning and ask yourself if fear is keeping you from finding happiness.
This month’s issue has an underlying theme of change. In Annette Bassett’s story Changing Lanes, read about four residents who put fears aside and plunged into new careers right when others might have started to coast. Katie Wagner has two stories that fit the theme: a farewell to Fr. Dave Bonnar from the former St. Bernard Church and a profile on lawyer Keith Whitson, who works toward ending discrimination while he helps immigrants find new life in the United States. To top it off, Merle Jantz’s story Breaking Ground tells you how our Mt. Lebanon landscape is evolving with new development and how projects move forward through a complicated approval process.
While we are confronting our fears and grasping for change, we still have to be smart. Wearing a helmet while skiing or riding a bike, washing hands and wearing a mask (c’mon people!) are markers of good common sense. Be safe. Be careful. But also be brave.