I’m lucky to have grown up with two incredible siblings as role models. Both of my brothers led the way for me to identify with skiing, and have continued to offer (sometimes unsolicited but appreciated nonetheless) training, racing and life advice as I torpedo into the twisted, unapologetic world that is Nordic racing.
One of those brothers, Logan, turned 27 last week. As I have made painfully clear in my previous posts, my chosen career path is not one of immediate monetary return. Thus, in my impoverished, ragged attempt to find my bro an affordable birthday present, I thought that I might instead write a tribute to everything he’s taught me just by being him (I’ll catch ya later, Trey). I’m also posting it four days late to, uh, you know, keep it exciting.
This isn’t really a gift. More than anything, this is an expression of gratitude, a thank you. Watching Logan and his approach to life has framed my own intentions and goals and made him one of my biggest heroes. In my once formidable embodiment of the tweenage terror, I’m not sure that I made my admiration of him clear. So, here goes, things that my brother taught me in life and skiing:
1. Trust your intuition
We feel things for a reason, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Alternatively, if it does feel right, DO IT. Think there’s a ghost in the basement? Never go down there again. Have a bad feeling about a plane ride? Take the next one. Feel like you’ve finally found your passion? Go for it.
2. Giggle, laugh and smile. At yourself and others.
Here lies the inspiration for this blog. There’s a lot to smile about in this world, more than people tend to notice. There is a time and place for goofiness. Which is all times and all places.
3. Be genuine.
Logan tells it how it is. His moral code is the most unwavering of anyone I’ve ever met. He will not lie, he will not cheat, he will not forget his loyalties. Sure, when your jeans make you look fat or your braids make you look like a pioneer, he’ll tell you. But, when he tells you he loves you, you know he means it.
3.5 Be genuine…unless ingenuity will make your mom happy.
There is something to be said for humoring those we love. For buying in. If forced family fun is forceful to him, Logan doesn’t show it. He’s the guy who will float in freezing water for hours teaching his little cousin how to water ski. He’ll face heat, dirt and bugs to accompany mom on her huckleberry hunts. He’ll sit with our grandparents and just listen, even if it’s to a story we’ve each heard several times. He has his priorities: no trivial tasks trump time with those he loves. I think we could all do well to follow his lead.
4. Frugality for the win
This year, I’ve come to realize and appreciate my brother’s ability to live on little-to-no money. Seriously, Logan, HOW DO YOU DO IT?! What do you eat? Where does it all go? Teach me your ways!
5. Stick to your guns
There’s a specific gene in my family that Logan has harnessed and perfected: stubbornness. (I don’t have it. Nope, I don’t. Super don’t. NO I DON’T.) My mom has a favorite anecdote where middle school Logan got in trouble for not paying attention in class. When he sat turned talking to his friends, the teacher demanded that he 1. turn around, 2. stop talking, and 3. put his feet on the floor. In response, he 1. turned around, 2. stopped talking and 3. sat, for the rest of the class, with his legs suspended in air under his desk. Not only does that speak to his incredible early athletic strength, but also to his strength of will.
I think stubbornness is too harsh a term. Rather, I prefer to call it commitment to independent discovery and expression. You can’t tell him how to do something, he does it his way. Other people’s negativity slow him. Once he’s decided to pursue something, he’ll finish it, in his own right. In the last year, I have made a few decisions that swayed away from the path others felt was best for me. I have chosen something that, at times, will not be easy. In those moments, I’ll think of my brother, how he has done things so differently and come out in the end happier and more well adjusted than the rest of us. If I can do that, maybe someday I can embrace his favorite phrase and tell the world, “I told you so.”
6. Have heart.
Logan has heart. He has a big heart. He throws his heart into everything he does. He follows his heart, and never leaves anything half-hearted. His heart’s in the right place. He wears it on his sleeve. I heart him.
But aneewa, I love you, bro.