Last week, I wrote about my new E-Bike and how sometimes we all need to seek out help when we need it. In that post I featured my partner, Karen, who actually got me interested in biking (among other things). Of course, she approved that message before I posted it, and this week she asked if she could write a post for the blog. Below is her post, enjoy!
I enjoy several hobbies and always hoped to find someone who enjoyed them as well. I grew up in Utah and learned to ski when I was 10 years old, so when Gary and I started dating, I asked if he liked to snow ski. His response was a resounding, “NO!” because he prefers to avoid anything related to cold weather. With a little bit of prompting, he joined me on a weekend trip with some friends and family at a local ski resort.
The first ski trip…
Gary rented skis and joined a beginner’s class (any skier knows having a novice on the hill is a danger to others as well as the beginner). After about an hour we checked in with him where he demonstrated he couldn’t make a turn to save his life – and so we gave him another hour hoping he’d get a feel for the snow (again, skiers know what I’m talking about).
Finally, he could turn
Once we deemed him a low risk to others, we hit the slopes. By the end of the day, he was getting the hang of things and enjoying himself quite a bit – so much so that he promptly went out and bought skis, boots, and poles.
He was still not great
So we’d ski like this – I go fast for a ways, then stop and wait for Gary. I’d let him ski past and then catch up and pass him again. Although Gary found skiing to be a bit more challenging in Utah (he can fall down one hill just as easy as another), it didn’t deter him at all. The last time we skied together, I let him ski past me and never caught up. You heard me right, the student surpassed the teacher and it only took two seasons.
And then there’s golf
Our next conversation was about golf – I started golfing with my dad when I was eight.
Me: Gary, do you like to golf?
Gary: I’ve golfed before.
Me: Do you own your own clubs?
Gary: Ummm, no.
Me: Do you want to learn how to golf, because that would be really awesome because I love to golf.
Of course he agreed.
Much like skiing, Gary gained speed quickly (no pun intended). His “starter” clubs lasted less than half a season before he bought a full set of custom Pings. Within a year, he was asking ME if I wanted to go golfing, not me asking HIM. Today, Gary golfs twice as often as I do, watches golf on TV (even I don’t do that very often), he joined the Veterans Golf Association so he can play in a tournament every weekend and his handicap is half of mine.
And of course, biking.
I saved my favorite hobby for last. I’ve been an avid bike rider since I bought my first road bike in my early 20s. I’ve been riding in some fashion ever since. Why was this not the first hobby I shared with Gary, you ask? Because I know how Gary feels about exercise in general and this hobby is a LOT like exercise.
I had to get a little creative…
So I took the alternative approach – I gave Gary a bicycle for Christmas – self-serving I know, but I really wanted to share this sport with him. If you read Gary’s blog last week (and if you didn’t you should) you know how that went down – he was much slower than me so I had to wait for him a lot (which I really didn’t mind) but he wasn’t up to riding most days and going on a long distance ride was out of the question due to his knee pain.
I was sure he’d never enjoy it like I did.
I’d resigned myself to this harsh reality and along came the e-bike. Now Gary wakes up in the morning and asks me if I want to ride. Several times I’ve told him to take the lead because I don’t want him to run into the back of me when I’m going slower than he is. When we go up a hill, he passes me like I’m standing still.
It’s like Deja vu all over again.
I’m happy to report Gary has yet to crash his bike. Yeah, yeah – I crashed AGAIN – this time on the darn driveway! Yes, folks, I crashed on my own driveway and it hurt like the dickens. Fortunately, Gary was there to pull the bicycle off me this time. Once he was reassured I was okay he documented my indignity with a picture. It’s a good thing I can laugh at my own lack of grace.
Put it all together and…
Let’s recap, shall we? Gary is a faster skier than me (I still have more style). Gary is a better golfer than me. And yes, as much as I hate to admit it, Gary is a better biker than me. I really thought I had him on that one, but I never factored in the e-bike.
And I’m competitive…
Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you I’m competitive by nature. Seriously competitive actually, so I often have to remind myself to chill out and just have fun. So, what does a competitive person do when faced with the fact that her significant other has now surpassed her in not one, not two, but three sports? Quit? I think not.
It’s STILL fun!
Some of you may be asking why I’m not aggravated by the fact that I’m second chair to Gary in three of the sports I INTRODUCED TO HIM?! It’s simple – there will always be someone better at “fill in the blank” than me, so it might as well be Gary.
It doesn’t bother me (much)…
Does it bother me that he started participating in these sports WAY after I did? Again, not really because Gary is one of those guys that takes to everything like he was born to do it. So I’ll keep skiing, and golfing and biking with Gary right beside me because I’m still having fun. I’ll share his successes as if they were mine – I did have a hand in them after all.
First, I’m delighted Karen wanted to weigh in here, and I LOVE that she can laugh at herself about falling down on her bike. I just want to take a moment to point out that, falling down aside, Karen is a strong, intelligent, beautiful and VERY capable woman. In no way are the stories (and pictures) of her crashes meant to put her down in any way, but we do chuckle about that together just like we ski, golf and bike together.
She’s better than me at a lot of things too.
Karen is FAR more organized than I am, she is a better cook. She has a WAY better memory than I do and (as I think may be typical) has a much better sense of fashion (She regularly asks me: “Did you look at yourself in the mirror when you got dressed?). The great thing is, we complement each other and that’s kind of the way it should be.
Here’s the rub…
It really doesn’t matter who’s “better” or “worse” than you…whether in sports, at work or in voice over and acting. What matters is that you are working at it and improving…and HOPEFULLY enjoying yourself in the process.
Don’t compare yourself to others!
It’s self-defeating. If you want to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to yesterday’s you. Are you improving? Learning something new about the craft? THAT’s what’s important! It’s OK to look at another VO artist or actor and say, “That’s the level I want to reach!” but comparing your own skill to theirs and thinking you’ll never get there leads to disaster. I tell my kids all the time: If you want what they have, do what they did.
You typically can’t see…
What you see is someone more successful than you. What you CAN’T see is all the hard work, pain, struggles, rejections and anxiety that went into making them what they are today. You may see an “overnight success”, but remember: It takes YEARS to become an overnight success! Nothing good just “happens”, you have to work at it!
This is YOUR journey…
And that person you are comparing yourself to, and probably feeling like a failure because you aren’t as successful or accomplished as them, was once where you are. Like you, they had to work hard to get where they are; keep working and one day you’ll have the success you seek too!
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Nancy Mason says
What an awesome post written by both of you! Love it!!! : )
Gary Mason says
Thank you Hon!
Okay bro I’d like to point out that Karen seems totally awesome but if you think you can ski well come ski here consider it a challenge to see what you can do you do that I will come golf with you and you can kick my ass but we don’t have powder here we have Carolina hard pack we ski on ice
Gary Mason says
Well, she IS awesome, but she didn’t say I can ski WELL, she said I ski FAST. Note the “He can fall down on any hill” comment. But yeah, maybe we will come down and ski this winter!