The day which I’ll never forget
I had previously never witnessed a near death experience.
In life there’s risk and then there’s recklessness. There’s only a very thin line separating them from each other. Risk is always okey, it’s something that should always be pursued. But recklessness is really dangerous and really stupid and should always be avoided. From a far they are very hard to tell apart. This story is of the time when we crossed the line between risk into recklessness. This was probably the only time in my life when I felt I’d lost control.
Everything began on a cold Thursday morning on the 11 of February 2021.
At approximately 9.30 we had arrived at the parking lot of Mustavuori in Tampere. Here would take place our first project as a team. We got to work with a company called MIPS, they specialize in producing a technology within the helmets for maximum brain safety. This technology is named after the company, “MIPS”. So, we got to do a project with them, which meant taking snowboarding pictures for them. And that’s what we did.
If you’ve ever been to Mustavuori, you’d know that there’s a skiing slope and you can as well go off route into the forests. We decided to do just that and hike in to the unknown. It was an exceptionally beautiful weather, and we timed our arrival perfectly to the minute. The forest’s snow and the trees combined with the beautiful sunrise created this private utopia for us. In other terms this could have been described as a Finnish winter wonderland.
I believe we were shooting pictures for round about 4 hours nonstop, it was lovely. Although our trip could have took a devastating turn at one point. A life ending turn.
The photoshoot was soon coming to its end and we decided to take some last-minute pictures. Our plan was to take some fast action photos of one of the models snowboarding on a mountain. The plan was settled and both of us took our positions. I was pumped because soon I’d be capturing an epic picture. He started storming down from the mountain and I was totally concentrated on taking the pictures. And then it happened. At first, nobody else really realized what had happened, except of course the model riding the snowboard. He had just almost plummeted into his death. There was an abrupt downhill off the mountain which nobody had realized. I was in shock. I couldn’t comprehend how could I’ve been so ignorant. I felt like I had betrayed everyone’s trust in me and that I was not a trustworthy person. And I sure as hell wasn’t in this particular time and place. I take full responsibility.
I could have just caused my friends life. His wife’s husband. His children’s father. His parent’s child. What was I thinking! The answer to that question is: nothing. At least not the right thing at the time. The only thing which I was concentrating on was taking a great shot. Not whether there was straight downwards cliff up ahead. To say that I was disappointed on myself would be an understatement.
Fortunately, my friend reacted and saw the threat just in time. He tripped himself down on the ground and grabbed from a small cane which was sticking out of the snow. He saved himself from a most certain death.
I was going through a lot of emotions and it felt overwhelming. (can’t even think what he might have been going through) But one of them was a feeling of pure happiness that my friend was still here with us and the previous situation was averted. Thank god.
Just to think whether things had gone the other way around. I’ve noticed that my mind tends to go back to the moment, and it plays out all of these different scenarios. What would have happened if we had taken the path on the left instead of the right, or if we left 30 minutes earlier, or if we would have just stayed on the ski slope in the first place. There must have been tens, hundreds, thousands of different ways our trip could’ve gone. This was just one of them and it could’ve had a terrible ending. Nonother the less, this outcome was the result of all of our previous decisions. We had layed this path for ourselves and it was a miracle that nobody got hurt, or worse.
When these kinds of events happen in your life, you truly start appreciating more of what you got. It’s almost kind of a wakeup call, you haven’t even realized how entitled you’ve been. Only when everything is almost taken away from you, the switch turns in your head and you see everything as what they truly are, a blessing. Everyone who’s ever been sick in their life knows exactly what I’m referring to. Ever since that snowboarding trip we took; I’ve had a deeper appreciation of my daily life. Of the little things. The little moments. The ones you normally take for granted. It’s almost like I’m more present in the moment and not in the what’s to come. It’s odd, but I like it.
It might just be that subconsciously my mind is trying to develop the lacking part of my personality, awareness. And it is doing that by reminding me on a daily base of that snowboarding incident. During these moments I feel scared, helpless and confused. I feel like I’m once again on that same cliff, witnessing something terrible happen to my friend. And It’s all because of me. I don’t know what to do. At least writing and sharing my thoughts in here helps in a way. It feels like I can process this situation in more of a profound way.
I believe it’s always important to reflect on your experiences, whether they are successes or failures. Both are as valuable. So, what did I exactly learn from this close call? I learned that life is extraordinarily precious and all of that can be taken away in instance. I learned that you should always be aware of your surroundings and see beyond what is right in front of you. I as well learned that TRUST is not something which you can demand from someone else, it is earned.
In our next project where I’ll be acting as our team leader, I’ll for sure be more aware and careful of the possible dangerous that are lurking behind the corner, or right under our noses. Much is to be taken away from all of this.
Something as a tip for every new project leader out there is to take good care of your teammates. That was one big area that I personally was lagging on. Remember that if your teammates are having fun and feeling good, no matter whether your project has a good ending, it still will be a good memory. You’ll strengthen as a team and that’s what truly matters in the end.