Ways That Life is Like Skating #1


CrashingLast weekend I went on my first street skate without someone holding my hand accompanying me. For anyone who hasn’t been on one, they are really fun. I’m not a very experienced skater and felt nervous about doing the whole thing on my own. To my surprise, the first half went really well... until I totally lost it.Just before half time, I clipped the skater in front and nearly fell over. Two minutes later, my feet slipped out from underneath me and I had a total wipe out (the kind that makes everyone behind say ‘Oooooh’). Five minutes after that, I wiped out again. Pavement: 2, Dignity: 0.I wasn’t sure whether to do the rest of the skate. My wounded pride and backside were saying it probably wasn’t a good idea, but I wanted to see how the second half would go and give myself a chance to recover.And?It was fine.I stopped trying to be a superhero solo skater, always at the front of the pack and settled into my role of street skate noob near the back of the group.From my rear-end vantage point, I realised: everyone falls over.When you’re at the front of the group, you don’t see the people who stumble because they’re behind you. It doesn't mean it's not happening though. In my head, I was the first one of the skate to fall over. In reality, that just wasn't the case.Skating towards the back of the group I saw what I hadn’t seen before: that a lot of people trip up along the way, that others stop to help them up, and that wipe outs are part of the course.Towards the end of the skate, a guy fell over while standing still and, in reaching out to grab hold of something, took the next guy down with him. As they helped each other up, the other skater said ‘Don’t worry, it’s not a real crash if you get up afterwards.’It’s not a real crash if you can get up afterwards.And that’s what skating is all about. There’s always going to be some kind of dodgy tarmac, pothole or cobbled ramp (urgh, cobbles) to trip you up. It’s not whether you trip up that counts.It’s how you recover.Life has a way of dishing out some serious shit. There are always going to be times when we feel vulnerable, overwhelmed, lonely and helpless.Self-knowledge isn’t about stopping that, because we can’t stop that. Instead, it’s about accepting it, being able to pick up the pieces and carry on skating. It’s about how we recover from the tough times, the conflicts and the hard decisions. It’s about ownership of our experiences, self-responsibility and, ultimately, control over our futures.It's about whether we get up again after we fall down. It's about whether we learn from our mistakes or let them stop us in our tracks. It's about accepting our falls, taking our bruised asses home and being glad for the experience.In my future, I plan to carry on skating.What are you going to carry on doing? Tell me in the comments below.  Photo Credit: digicla via Compfight cc