Visions of Tom

Tom Leitner shares his bird’s eye view on his universe, itself inserted in different universes, which can quickly lead to a number of parallel universes.


While I`m reading this, it is the day after the US elections and it feels like everything has changed and everything is about to change. I`m feeling strangely insecure. Scrolling through my American friends’ profiles and comments, they seem to be just as shocked and speechless about the outcome as the rest of the world.
I was supposed to write a text about the restaurant which I opened this summer. I wanted to demonstrate the challenges, all the selfless help from my friends and about all the great moments we`ve had on the way. But, already leading up to this day, I couldn`t get in the right mood. It just didn`t seem right and I`ve increasingly been feeling concerned and uneasy. As a father of a three year old daughter I cannot help but actually be deeply concerned about the future, in utter disbelief about the recent events. I am not overly political, but currently we are all forced to be, I believe. All of a sudden it all feels real and subtle fears creep up.

The question I ask myself – and probably most of us – is how people can actually approve and be in favour of “a movement” ridiculing all our common values, everything that I`ve ever believed in: environmental awareness, mercy, the will to compromise, thoughtfulness, modesty, or simply humanity. And to be honest, I do not have the slightest idea why the hell anyone would do this let alone who those people might be.

How can it be that there is zero understanding and that there has been so little contact with a world within mine, one that`s apparently larger and louder than my own? Skiing has opened my mind – but it has also narrowed it. Years ago, before I had even imagined the possibility of making a living out of my favourite leisure activity, my outlook on life was different: after graduating from high school I`d proceed to university, go abroad for some time, hopefully make it through and get a job one day.
After a series of lucky events and some talent involved, I was given the opportunity to lead a life around skiing, my favourite pastime. I would even be able to do it full-time. Ever since, I`ve led a life totally committed to my true passion and it has become my whole universe. I`ve been able to travel to foreign cultures and become friends with like-minded people. Skiing, so it seems, is a catalyst for a certain kind of attitude. Once we are connected on the net, algorithms do the rest and make us gravitate deeper and deeper into our own universe- a universe that’s not only about being the best of the best but about having unique style – it`s this idea of approaching things a little differently and appearing authentic doing so. And while we might understand that reality is considerably different from this idea, we refuse to acknowledge it as such. We call this “living the dream” and it is what we define ourselves by, it becomes part of our identity. And while this is truly a beautiful thing, it is also an example of why the world is currently drifting towards such extreme positions: it makes us forget that, for most folks, it’s just that: a dream. They simply do not have the means, the social background or the education to do so.

But instead of acknowledging the other world’s arguments, striving to find compromises and developing a sense of tonality instead of black and white only, it has become a battle of lifestyles with one side refusing to acknowledge the other. Whatever your position, we tend to group together and create our own little worlds, microcosms which give us identity within a globalised, confusing and fast-paced world, which cannot help but clash. We call the others ignorant but, in reality, we ignore their motives to the same extent.

Many of us face experiences which serve as a reality check – whether it be injuries, illness, being dropped from sponsors, friends dying in the mountains – or awkward reality TV characters becoming real life threats. I`ve had some of those moments recently and they not only made me realise the privileged lifestyle I`m living, but also the life circumstances and situations which others have to face. I`ll try to see it as an opportunity to step out of my bubble, maybe only for some time. But I`ll step back into it because being in the mountains makes me happy, it`s what I identify with. Only when there is something that remains constant, a fixed point in a fast-paced world, is it possible to leave the comfort zone, develop an understanding for differing standpoints and then work on change. Besides my family, skiing has been the only constant in my life. So, no need for change here – let`s keep skiing great.

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