Five Minute Intervals of Courage Part 2

I came home from my double black diamond experience to find 80 degree weather in Denver. It’s surreal to go from snowy mountains to hot and dry in the city in just an hour and fifteen minutes. My neighbors buzzed by on their moped and looked utterly baffled by my snow pants and ski jacket. “Just got back from skiing.” I managed to blurt out, hoping I didn’t appear as Twilight Zone as I felt. My second beer at high altitude was still in fuzzy effect. I could already tell that my human luge experience was going to reveal its toll in full force by morning. Everything was slow motion and sunny.

When I turned on my computer to check in with the world, I found a rejection letter from a literary magazine. Before I could even sigh or feel a ping or a ting in my confidence. I filed it in my “No Vacancy” folder. That was it. No huffing or puffing. It was like I was sorting mail. I don’t know if it’s because I pushed my limits and careened down a mountain earlier or because I know the slim statistics of getting published, but it didn’t feel bad to hear, no.

I think I realized that giving myself credit for taking a risk far outweighs the result. Better to have had a David Lee Roth tumble down the mountain experience than stay with the familiar view on an intermediate trail. Better to file a No Vacancy letter than it is to keep pages dormant on a hard drive.

The intermediate trail is a fine place. One that I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy but I know risks drive me toward progress. No guts, no glory.

“Hi Mom, guess what?”

By the tone of my voice she already knows that I am trying to convince her that something was a good idea.


“I skied down a double black diamond trail.”

“I don’t know what this is.”

“It’s the hardest trail. I was at the top of the mountain. 12,313 feet!”

Szukasz guza!” You’re looking for a goose!

“I love that phrase.”

A ty na dupie zechalas.” And you road down on your ass.


My mom, she knows me so well.

Dobrze ze portki nie zgubilas.” It’s good that you didn’t lose your pants.

And I didn’t lose my pants, but I held onto my life by the seat of them.

10 comments on “Five Minute Intervals of Courage Part 2

  1. Marti says:

    I love the last line. I understand that moment and both the excitement and buzzy nerve feeling that comes with it.

  2. Jannett Matusiak says:

    Thanks Marti! Life is better lived with a zing in it!

  3. Margaret says:

    Yes! I can really relate to this (beautifully written) 2-part post… Meeting drastic challenges and refusing to surrender to fear can give surprising perspective to everything else. After you say Yes to the double black diamond, you find yourself in new shoes. Did those two mystery skiers have wings?

    • Jannett Matusiak says:

      Thanks so much Margaret. I love what you said about finding yourself in new shoes. It’s so true. I am walking around with a new perspective. I think I can see a little higher.

  4. Denise says:

    First of all, I love your mom. :-)

    Second, I love the theme here of taking risks being its own reward. “Better to file a No Vacancy letter than it is to keep pages dormant on a hard drive.” So true. So true. We have to keep putting ourselves out there. Thanks for sharing this! I needed it. ;-)

  5. Jannett Matusiak says:

    Thanks Denise, I’ll tell my mom you said so. :-) yep, It’s so much better to put our work/our selves out there. What else are we living for if not to share our joys and be part of the human experience?

  6. Holly De Santis says:

    your reason for going down the double black diamond is the exact same reason why i’m running rugged maniac in May. in 10 years we can look back and say we did that instead of we watched that. glad you didn’t loose your pants! for keeping them on – cookies are your reward. now i just have to find a container to put them in.

    • Jannett Matusiak says:

      Thanks Holly I love that you’re doing the Rugged Maniac! And too true, better to have said we’ve done something than just watched from the sidelines. And I get cookies as a reward? Hell, I would have gone down the mountain a lot sooner!!! Thank you!

  7. Judith says:

    Do I sound way too old, too mom-like if I say: I am proud, proud, proud of you! You are submitting! You are handling rejection like a pro! You are stunning and brave! Bravo, my friend! (And I love this blog.)

  8. Jannett Matusiak says:

    Thanks so much for your encouragement Judith! You are one of the people who helps push me forward with all of this! I appreciate you.

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