You first step on a board not knowing what will happen, where it will take you, and how it will develop you. Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you won't. Maybe your mum pulled you from the house by your ear, telling you to “stop playing video games and get outside!” Or maybe you pulled your mom by the ear, into the cold, so you could snowboard with your little runny-nosed, red-cheeked friends. If you were the puller rather than the pullee, it might feel like snowboarding chose you. As if it was something you couldn’t possibly ignore, kinda like how writers talk about always writing, or how singers remember their first concerts being to a teddy bear audience in their room.

It’s weird to think that something may have chosen you. How can you be drawn to something before doing it? Some of this pull could be chalked up as peer or parental influence, but if you really wanted to do it, then there was something more there. A recognition. Something made you feel like snowboarding was a good fit for you, who you were, and who you wanted to be.

Then you grow up. And if you stick with it, you and your runny-nose friends get older and closer. You move to Whistler; you hook up with people you shouldn’t have; you break wrists and clavicles; film edits; drink a lot of beer; go on road trips; work nights; freeze your ass off; have some of the best times you’ll ever have.

But eventually, you might feel like something needs to change. Mom or dad may start pressuring you to “get your life together and think about your future.” You wonder what it means to have “a life.” Your life is snowboarding, and all the things associated with it. Your skills are snowboarding, and maybe filming, or editing. But mostly snowboarding. Yet you agree, something should probably change. You can’t do this forever.

You go to school and get a degree—maybe you even loved getting your degree, then you get a job. It’s a nine to five at a good company. You have money for the first time in your life, and that feels great. You rent a decent place. You eat out. You feel established. Your parents are stoked.

Maybe you miss a winter or two developing your career and feel pretty good about that. But then one really unique winter comes, and you’re inside while your friends are out there, slashing lines and posting them to the feed. You start to feel really left out, like in a deep way. So you wonder if you can take time off. The thing is, you only have three weeks, and you want to take a week off in the summer, and you need time off over Christmas, and you’ve already foolishly taken time off because you were tired and needed a break, so now you only have five days to designate to the whole snowboard season. The same season your life used to be designated to. The same sport you always felt like might have chosen you.

It hurts. You realize just how little freedom you have and start wondering what the hell you’re doing in this cold fucking office in the first place. The desk doesn’t fit you. It’s too tall. Your chair wobbles. Your back hurts. Your “office buddy” is shit. No one ever replaces the water cooler, so you have to. You’ve started getting migraines from too much screen time. And now you’re really wondering how the next 30 years of your life is going to pan out. Your parents tell you this is part of growing up. These are responsibilities, and everyone has them. But you don’t find those comments very helpful. You’re not sure if you want the same life everyone has. You miss freedom and snowboarding and doing something that felt natural.

So, what now?

This story may or may not hit close to home for you, but it probably will, one day, in some form. Because your parents were right—this is growing up. These feelings are growth feelings. They are the feelings you get when your life takes on complexity. As you navigate through this world, you learn, cry, laugh, make mistakes, and your life goes from 2D to 3D. But this isn’t to say that life will just become increasingly hard as you age. The hope is that If you’re attuned to yourself, listening to the nudgings of your heart, you will be able to know what you desire, and you will be able to make those hard calls. You will be able to know when to make space and when to trim the fat. And, in the case of snowboarding, you will learn when and how to incorporate it into your life. – William Fraser


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