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Words to ski – or live – by

“We’re all doing the same thing – trying to have a little fun on the way to cremation.”

That is what she said to me. The phrase was less than 20 words in length, but it caught my attention. I had never met her and wasn’t going to be in contact with her for long. We were just riding up a two-person ski-lift together. Our meeting was only because the line matched us up when we reached the boarding point. It was a random Wednesday in mid-winter. The sky was clear. The afternoon sun was shining, and by happenstance, she and I were sitting next to each other for the six minutes that it took to move two skiers from the bottom of the mountain to the top.

We had barely exchanged niceties, the where-are-you-from question plus the isn’t-the-weather-great statement, when she came at me with her take on the world. Within seconds, the lift had reached its destination, and we parted, heading our separate directions. We were uncoupled off the lift and that was the last that I saw of her.

But her words stuck with me.

In the most targeted context, her words could be taken very simple and literal. Her audience of reference could have been the collective group of skiers, out on the slopes, all alive and well, and just trying to have a great day outdoors surrounded by the beauty and majesty of the mountains. After all, the folks who strap wooden sticks to their feet, ride rickety swinging seats to the 10,000+ft summit most certainly and clearly be on a quest for some type of fun.

Her context, however, seemed to be more global. I had guessed her age to be somewhere in the 75-85 range. With the age of most skiers being in the twenty-something range, she was somewhat unique.

In a global context, her words could be interpreted in a very different manner. In looking at the entire world, we, as humans, are all seeking the same thing. Everyone is looking for ways to be healthy, ways to be happy, ways to be safe, ways to find the value and purpose of life.

And yes, indeed, we are all on our “way to cremation.” Each day that passes, each person living comes a little closer to the end. Her comments – when analyzed beyond the framework of skiing – remind all of us to enjoy the day, enjoy each other, enjoy the moment, for the moments of such happiness are fleeting.

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