Don’t Be Afraid to Hit the Gas

Snowmobiling at the Sachtjen Farm

What’s your holiday tradition? A puzzle on Christmas Day? Perhaps it is seeing the latest animated feature at the movie theatre to let the turkey and pumpkin pie settled.

My husband’s family enjoys snow mobiling around the farm. An activity that I have never tried but could imagine in vivid detail all that could go wrong. What if I fall off? What if I am thrown off onto a sharp rock? What if I get buried in the snow and no one can find me? What if —

You can see how this can escalates quickly in the anxious mind.

In the past, I managed to dodge the experience due to lack of white stuff on the ground. However, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter double-teamed me with about three feet of fresh powder just in time for Christmas.

Suiting up into my husband’s former bibs (snow suit) and strapping on my brother-in-laws boots, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. I wanted to particiate in their pastime of speeding through the hayfields on the individuals motorized devices . . . but I was terrified of the what ifs.

My husband let me ride behind him on the first one — which took a lot of power to move forward and scared the heck out of me when it lurched to life in the farm driveway. We switched around snow mobiles unti we found one that was not determined to push me off the back.

My husand and I did a few laps around the barns, as if we were on a go-cart track. Puttering. I knew my husband wanted to hit the hay fields at top speed but I was maxing out my anxious energy riding back and forth in front of the cows at the hay trough.

It was at that point that I decided, I needed to drive my own snow mobile. I can putter with the cows and he could hit the hay fields at NASCAR speed.

So, I took the handlebars.

I think I broke the record for the slowest snow mobile ride in history. If Bessy wasn’t so obsessed with her alfalfa mix, she would have beat me to the barn and back.

It didn’t matter how fast I went that day. How far. Or if the only jump I did was over my own tracks. What mattered was that I tried.

After my slow speed adventure, my mother-in-law installed a bit of snow mobile wisdom that I think pertains to life in general. She told me that it comes down to giving myself permission to hit the gas. I have the power, the resources, the instincts — I just need to hit the gas.

Try something that scares you. Hit the gas. You will be surprised to discover there is a NASCAR in every go-cart putterer.

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