I don't know that I specifically spelled it out as such on my blog, but one subpoint to my New Year's Resolution was not only to come to terms with change, but also to try new things.
When is a better time than in the de-familiarizing context of vacation? Granted, I was visiting with family, but for the most part, being in another geographic region virtually ensures that should one make an ass of one's self, one would not likely have to see the witnesses again (except, of course, for the relatives, but family's just not family without stories of embarrassment to laugh over). With that in mind, I was presented with the opportunity to ice skate whilst on vacation. My first impulse? Oh hell no. Nuh uh. I've said before that I wouldn't skate because "I can think of better ways to fall flat on my ass."
It's a new year, I told my recalcitrant self. They have these walker-like things you can start out with, my limber young cousins told me. Fine. I'd try it. The snots would laugh their heads off at me, I was sure, but hey, a little humiliation never killed anybody, and it would be one more thing to cross off the long list of things I've never done or tried.
So after a wait in line and having someone help me lace my skates tight enough, I walked across the floor on the way to the rink, more tentatively than the people who obviously weren't strangers to ice skates. Not too bad, I thought and said. My aunt pointed out that it would be different on ice. That's what I was afraid of.
The moment of truth came. I stepped ever so gingerly onto the ice. I clung to the edge as I tried to find a walker that wasn't being used in the third of the rink designated for the newbies. I found a walker and tried to maneuver my way among dozens of kids whizzing by with small walkers and clumsy adults following at a significantly less breakneck pace. Again, I was surprised to find it wasn't that bad. I settled into a pace somewhere between the two extremes. Lest I give a false impression of courage and ease of transition, I might add that my upper arms started to ache from the tight grip I was keeping on the support.
Soon, after about half an hour, everyone had to clear out so they could run the zamboni. When I got back, I decided to test my growing confidence out on the open stretch of ice where the walkers weren't allowed. It was the same principle, I figured, and besides, it was getting too crowded where I had been and I kinda wanted to be with my cousins. So I ventured out, and to my vast surprise, fell on neither my ass nor, even worse a fear, my face. I was hardly what you would describe as "graceful," but "up on my feet and mobile" is as close a second place as this non-athletically inclined lass hopes to come. Once, I nearly fell, but I sorta wobbled a bit and caught my balance. Graceless, but it did the job.
I fully expected to ache the next day given that the extent of my exercise for the last few months consisted of brief hikes across campus, but I didn't, aside from my arms. And I had a blast. I'd do it again, too, if the opportunity arose. I hope it does.
It taught me a good lesson, one I know at a fundamental level but constantly lose sight of: I tend to, as an Incubus song puts it, "let my fear take the wheel and drive." I can't even begin to count the number of things I've avoided because I built up the what-ifs and worst-case scenarios to a fever-pitch. But the things I've done? Not nearly as scary as my overactive imagination built them up to be. And some have paid off. Ice skating wasn't a life-changing event, but I'm going to file it away as a positive omen for the year. Lately, I've felt that nagging negativity try to move in, and I'm trying to bolster myself against an attack.
I have more to write about my trip, but I'm jet-lagged right now and my bed's looking mighty nice after a week of sleeping on an air mattress.