Hitting The Slopes

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Relationships. Yes people, this is an article about relationships.
But my fellow Stags, I say to you, do not despair. This story isn’t about fairy tales or how to find happiness.  Instead, I’d like you to think about what love, or what I call true friendship, actually is.
How can I explain this? Here’s an example. Pretend for a moment you’re going skiing for the weekend. Personally you love it, but skiing is nowhere near as fun unless you’re with a partner.
And let’s say of all the people you know, you’re only allowed to bring one person with you on the trip. When deciding who to bring, here are some things to keep in mind.
A good ski partner is someone who can ride the chairlift. Why? It’s a calm, quiet environment that can feel lonely unless you’re with someone that’s easy to talk to. With you guys, conversation is never forced, and you’re able to laugh with each other the entire way up the mountain.
Once you get to the top, you begin your descent and notice your partner is having some trouble keeping up. But because you have fun together, you don’t get bored. You ride together side by side, and you’re in no rush to make the day shorter by heading back to the lodge early to…warm up.
Now this point is key. Good ski partners embrace the feeling of riding down the mountain with each other. Once they get to the bottom, they look forward to riding the chairlift again – ready to traverse another unchartered course. You can ride together all day, what you have going is great. At no point do you worry about the “next step” or the future.
But sooner or later, nighttime arrives, and it’s time for you two to head back to the lodge. You change your clothes, go out for dinner, and settle down for some late-night snuggling with hot chocolate around the fire. But that’s it! Nothing more than that and you call it a night.
Great relationships are like this. The chemistry between you two is so intertwined that even as friends it’s difficult to live without each other. So, call me old fashioned, but you’ve probably got a million-to-one shot of Mr. Right being that person you text after some great hook-up at a townhouse party.
Keep in mind this is all part of growing up. Sometimes going through a rough relationship is great because you can see what things are worth a sacrifice and what isn’t. You learn things about yourself you never thought before.
So here’s a rule of thumb. Unless you’ve gone skiing together, the person you’re talking to is probably probably a waste of time. And if you started going out, it’s probably going to be an ugly breakup. I’d give it five months.
But don’t be afraid to fail. You’re better off learning how to ski with a mediocre partner on the bunny hill. That way, when the perfect partner comes around, you won’t screw up. You’ll take down black diamonds together like they’re the snow tube hill.
I really think the English language got it right when the words “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” were used to describe couples. What are the qualities of a good “friend”? In time, you’ll figure it out! Just try skiing first. Then you’ll know if it’s true love.
And if it is, stay with them – through the thickest snow and the thinnest ice. If he falls, pick him up. If she’s inexperienced, be patient. Ten years from now, it will all have been worth it. In the words of Pedro Arrupe S.J.: “Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

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