Last week, I did something I haven’t done in over twenty-five years. I went roller skating.
My kids love going to the local rink and skate their little hearts away for hours. This time around, I decided to give it a try. The last time I did, I was twelve.
I realized quickly that roller skating is not like riding a bike. The lack of control over the movements of my legs was disconcerting. I gripped on to the wall for dear life, as I edged my way around the rink. A friend, who joined us for the afternoon, whizzed by me and encouraged me to just let go of the wall. My daughter skated beside me for a while, and asked me if I wanted to hold her hand. Bless her little, nine-year-old heart.
After two full loops around the rink, and a change from quad skates to in-line skates, I decided to just do it. I let go.
And I did not fall. Well, not right away at least.
At some point, I got it right and found my stride. Soon, I was gliding down the lane with my arms swinging from side to side. I maneuvered the curves and overtook those still spinning their wheels. I may have even wiggled my hips to the beat of the music blasting in the air.
The freedom to move around unfettered made me feel bold and liberated. It was exhilarating. Almost like taking flight.
At some point, I actually did fall, but it was not as painful as I feared it would be. Getting up wasn’t as difficult either. I just pulled myself up and got back on my feet. Falling was nothing to be afraid of after all.
Hmmm... Suddenly, I don’t think I’m talking about just roller skating anymore.
As we get older, the fear of falling can be overwhelming. We feel that there is more at stake; our dignity, our pride, and quite possible a couple of broken bones. Falling so publicly is embarrassing. Older bones do not mend as quickly.
But we pick ourselves up. We dust ourselves off. We heal, eventually.