My fourth book, Me First – the guilt-free guide to prioritising you, will be released in April 2020. So, I need to be true to myself, and true to my readers. I can hardly write about your need to start prioritising yourself, without leading from the front.
Let me be clear up front: Me First does not mean ‘all about me’, it simply means ‘more about me.’ For me, my Me First rules are threefold – I will actively:
- Consider the things I really want/love to do (my Yes List) and the things I do not want to do (my No List)
- Make time for the things on my Yes List and politely decline the opportunities/ requests on my No List
- Ensure I experience something new every single day – be it a new experience; food; idea; theory or endeavour.
Which leads to a broken thumb, a busted shoulder, a bloody nose and a fat lip.
The combination of a Me First mindset, of trying new experiences, and of being in France in the middle of winter – created the perfect storm – surely it was time I learned to ski?
I am a summer girl. I love beaches and swimming and sun baking and surfing and warmth. The hotter the better. I am not a winter girl. I have never been on a winter holiday. Why chase the rain when you can chase the sun? And yet, here I am in France, in January. It seemed almost petulant not to embrace the thermal under-things and head off to the summit.
Saint Jean de Sixt is stunning. Little chalets, with roofs covered in snow, dot the mountain side like life sized ginger bread houses. The funicular up ‘Grand Bo’ took no prisoners – you literally need a degree in physics to jump onto that baby on the move with your skis, poles, helmet, goggles, gloves and body in one piece.
Evan the ski instructor showed us the ropes. I am no fool – as a 50-year-old ski debutant I wasn’t going anywhere without a lesson. My daughter has only skied once before but for some crazy, survival of the fittest, biological thingy, she was outstanding.
The basics in place, and only having fallen once on some lovely soft powdery snow in the ‘nursery area’ (this is so much fun!), we were let loose as fully qualified skiers. ‘Kate, stick to the green piste’, Evan called after me, helpfully.
Here is what I leant on day 1:
- The green piste are graded as the easiest runs, but that does not mean they don’t contain life threatening slopes, icy turns and edges that fall away to drops of 1000’s of feet
- After green, you have blue, red and black
- Black runs are for psychos
- The green piste often intersect with the blue, red and even black piste: imagine a 4-way intersection with no road rules at all. It is literally every man for himself
- When you catch the funicular to the top of a red run simply to look at the view, they (aka ‘your daughter’) expect you to ski down as opposed to taking the funicular down (with that hearty teenage mix of criticism coupled with encouragement to get you to comply: ‘OMG mum, NO-ONE else is going down the lift, you are soooo embarrassing. Come on, you can do it!’).
- When you fall over it is really, really hard to get up
- When you fall over it is really, really hard to get your skis back on
- When you fall over no-one stops to help you
- When you fall over your daughter will pee herself laughing at you
- When you fall over on the powdery stuff it’s all fun and games
- When you fall over on the icy stuff, the gloss starts to wear off
- You can fall over when standing still, when moving, when turning a corner, when going down a slope, when going up a slope, when getting onto a ski lift, and when getting off a ski lift
Here is what I leant on day 2:
- Green is my favourite colour
- I simply cannot get up from the ground using my leg muscles alone
- There is something mildly irritating about an incredibly capable 5 year-old local on skis
- It is clearly far easier to learn something new when you are 5 rather than 50, but that is no reason not to keep learning at 50
- It actually IS permissible to catch the funicular down (you just need to wait until your daughter has already descended 50 metres of so and cannot intervene, and then you ask the nice man if you can take the lift down and he stops the whole ski lift to allow you to descend and radio’s down to the bottom of the lift to warn them, and then you glide over your daughter and wave happily as she gesticulates in the universal language of displeasure)
- I was getting bloody good at the green piste until some kamikaze lunatic took me out from behind resulting in a complete face plant, arse over tit, skis akimbo, blood nose, fat lip, smashed shoulder, bent thumb, spectacular crash
- Lunatics don’t stop to help either
Here is what I leant on day 3:
- You can ski with a broken thumb
- Sitting in a deck chairs in the sun at the summit with a mug of hot chocolate is orgasmic
- Get really good at green before you try blue
- Try blue because you always need to keep moving beyond your comfort zone
- Always finish on a high – I am the Queen of Green
Me First bucket list item #1 done and dusted – it’s time to start prioritising you.