Thursday, 28 February 2008

Facing Fear

I was getting a bit concerned that I had become less brave recently. In the past I have ridden motorcycles at high speed and done full-contact Karate but lately I have been scared Skiing.

I started skiing at the age of 30+ and did it in Austria for the first time. It took just a few days to get from raw beginner to OK to go down most of the slopes.

But, most of it was fearful. By this, I mean leaving the Ski school after day 2 and going to the top of the mountain etc.

I remember making a wrong turn and heading for an expert slope on one day. And I fell and couldn't stop tumbling all the way down the slope.

The other day, here in Japan, my son made a similar error by thinking an "E" on a sign meant "Easy" but unfortunately it meant "Expert". But he got down it OK.

Skiing is a very unusual sport I think. There is such a fine line between boredom (slope too easy), fun (the slope is exactly right for your ability level and not too easy) and scary (it is icy or very bumpy or steep).

Well today I went to our local ski area for the first time, this is a strange place since the slopes are either very easy or difficult. So I had to do the difficult slopes.

I watched a DVD about skiing technique before I went and I remembered the phrase that "break-troughs will not happen so often at this level" - the intermediate level where I am at.

In the difficult area there were 2 choices, the steep compacted snow and the steep bumpy, soft snow.

I went for the compacted snow several times and got better and better at it and ventured to the edges to try the powder snow. I am getting used to this soft snow now after some previous trips. It is strange compared to the compacted snow since you sink into it and miraculously are still able to move through it.

Eventually, I got fed up with doing this same slope over and over and decided to go for the steep, soft and bumpy slope.

The first time I turned resulted in some high speed that made me panic and fall over. But what I realized is that you must not give in and fight to stay in balance. The snow was soft so there was no pain to fall.

So, it didn't take long to actually concentrate on balancing after turns and not bail out but rather stay focused on keeping upright and ready to make the next turn.

I had to carefully watch my wife turn to learn what to do. The trick is to turn your downward ski down the slope to start the turn and the other ski follows. Then, once the other ski is turned down the slope, you angle it and push on it for support, and at the same time lift the other ski and place it down horizontal to the slope. Then you are skiing quite fast across the slope and need to focus on balance, controlling speed and resisting falling on your side or skiing back up the slope to fall down.

The conditions seem crazy, but somehow it is possible to ski it. You just have to do what works and have faith in yourself!

The other thing to do is to bend your legs a lot to absorb bumps, but this is very tiring and after a few runs you don't have the stamina to maintain control.

So this was a breakthrough moment for me, actually completing these moves in what seemed at first to be impossible conditions. But great fun in the end.


Monday, 4 February 2008

Time Acceleration

As you get older, you will experience an acceleration in time. I am currently, rapidly approaching my 45th birthday and have spoken on this topic to a few people that are older than me.

We all found that we experience age acceleration. It is kind of scary, but true! You will have the same effect in your life as long as you remain lively.

What you need to do is recognize this fact and live life to the fullest. Don't let time slip by!

I have seen a few people I know stick in a time warp where their situation doesn't improve and they do the same things day in day out and not much changes except that they get older.

New people I meet are sometimes like this, for example, they went through school without going out much (like me) and they are still the same 20 years later with no love life (not like me). They didn't change and maybe never change.

So, you need to urgently break out of the time warp if you are stuck in one and get out and meet new people and do new things before it is too late and time runs out.

When you reach middle age, you discover that your choices in what you do become critical. If you make bad choices, you can use up many valuable years of your life and never get them back.

One good example I think is the office worker that works late every day. They are the shadows on the glass in the high rise buildings that are seen by the people glancing up at the stars in the night sky from the restaurant as they enjoy the company of friends.

Then, there is the mother playing with the children back home while dad is stuck in a meeting at work while the kids are growing up or he is in traffic trying to drive home.

So think about this and aim to make the best use of your time on this Earth before it runs out. It may be fine in life after death but it is better to focus on what you have now, I think and never forget that time marches on and your age appears to accelerate as you get older.

So don't have the concept of working towards a retirement, enjoy life every day as best you can.


Sunday, 3 February 2008

Anti Privacy

In a world where personal privacy is becoming more and more an issue with people avoiding being photographed, hands covering faces whenever a camera is spotted and people hiding behind closed doors and black tinted glass in cars, I find my self doing the opposite and becoming more and more open.

Isn't this odd, is it a natural tendency to go against the herd or a useful strategy?

This is the first time I used my name in a URL but I haven't gone so far as to use my first name, only my given name (surname). I think this will do for now since few people would search on my full name, but many people may search on 'Wilkes'.

I want this Blog to be found and read so it's important to not be too specialized in the choice of URL and Title words. I heard that many people search on their own name so I wouldn't want to deter other Wilkes' from visiting my site.

So why did I set up this Blog?

Good question...

There are several reasons:

1. I felt the need to have a Blogger Blog simply because it is one of the biggest social networks online and now seems to be sorted out in terms of Splogs and credibility in search results.

2. I heard that they get good visitor traffic.

3. I like owning lot's of websites. But, I am not so keen to give my content to 3rd parties so I don't tend to build "free" websites much.

4. I needed a place to post on random topics and have some interesting things to say, so it makes sense to share them with You great people of the world.

5. I wanted to get more into social networking. Today, I joined Twitter and it had some code to include in your Blog. That's what gave me the push to head over here and set one up.

6. You can never have too many friends, so this is another way to make some more friends via the web, hopefully!

So that's probably enough rambling for now on the how and why for this Blog. So please drop by again sometime. Maybe add this Blog to your RSS reader or save it as a Live Bookmark in FireFox?

p.s. that's a great time saver since you get to quickly see the latest titles of Blog Posts in your Bookmarks without having to visit a site or view the post. So you can regulate your degree of information overload.