Last winter, in the middle of a break with sanity, I decided that learning how to ice skate at my advanced age would be a good idea.
Then being the type of person who jumps in with both feet, I promptly bought a pair of skates and proceeded to terrify myself by actually getting on the ice.
Now I am in my second winter, starting to harbour some doubts that learning this skill might not be do-able in this lifetime.
I was out skating today with some ladies from my Seniors’ Club and as I struggled to keep myself vertical, and therefore all bones intact, it occurred to me that skating can be seen as an allegory for life.
For example – as in skating, some days our goal in life is simply to stay upright. Grace and elegance be damned. It’s a major achievement to simply survive with as little damage as possible.
As in skating, sometimes in life we can be cruising along quite comfortably, enjoying the scenery along the way, and then without warning, hit a rough patch.
If we’re lucky, we may simply stumble but manage to regain our balance. However sometimes we fall – and it might not be pretty.
A fall can be minor and we are able to brush ourselves off and keep going. If we aren’t so lucky, we might need help to get back on our feet again … with our confidence taking a bruising that could be a long while before it fades.
Sometimes those bruises are literal and the memory doesn’t fade at all.
Life, like skating, often feels like a precarious balancing act on a thin blade. Some people excel at it, able to perfect graceful spins, turns, and leaps into the air.
They make life’s challenges look effortless.
Others seem to never master the art of even a simple glide … just creeping along uncomfortably, terrified that getting hurt is only a breath away.