How skiing moguls has helped me prepare for this Thursday’s lockdown

This Thursday November 5th, England will enter a 4-week lockdown. No bars, pubs or restaurants. No socializing indoors with people outside of your household. No groups of 6 in public areas. The most you can do is meet with one other person outside of your household in a public place. My trip to Toronto might even get cancelled (it’s unlikely – but unfortunately there is a chance).

It’s easy to get down. And it’s tempting to try and eliminate variables, control outcomes and scramble to get a sense of stability. When I started to reflect on this mindset, I think it’s all wrong.

I recalled a moment on the slopes when I was learning how to ski moguls.

Moguls are a series of bumpy mounds on a ski slope. When the ground beneath you is literally changing every instant on the terrain, you might feel like you need to be an anchor. Like you need to be rigid and in control. But actually, the winning advice is the opposite. My ski instructors always told me that, in order to ski moguls successfully, you need to ‘make your legs like noodles!’ What?!

Make your legs like noodles, the instructor would repeat. You want to be as flexible as possible so that your knees can naturally elevate and drop according to the peaks that you’re riding. If you try and resist and lock your knees, then you’ll inevitably fall (and it won’t be pleasant).

Bringing it back to COVID, I’m going to make my mentality as flexible as a noodle. Meaning, I’m going to be flexible with the changes. I’m going to focus on being adaptable to whatever it is that Boris Johnson or the world at large throws at us. Because being rigid and trying to control everything is not possible in today’s environment, and will only result in disappointment.

That means not getting too hung up on the current state of events, or the routines that have been disrupted or enabled. I’ll work around the restrictions. When I can eat dinner indoors, I will. If all I can do is go for a walk with one person, I’ll do that. And, if all I can do is stay indoors and make phone calls, then I’ll just rack up my phone bill. I will adapt to my new constraints.

This is not the time for routine. This is the time to be flexible.

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