I started skating. And it was really hard.


As I’ve been sharing my skating photos on Instagram and Facebook I’ve been getting so many likes and comments I thought I’d share the story here.

I started skating this year.

I used to skate, when I was a kid I took figure skating lessons and absolutely loved it.? But I hadn’t skated in at least 25 years.

I’m always hearing from people that I’m “so good at” trying new things, so I wanted to share this story because actually I’m NOT good at trying new things, at all.? And that’s kind of the point.

No one is good at doing new things!

In fact, you have to be willing to be bad, or else you can’t do new things.

You have to be ok with having more questions than answers.? And putting yourself into the unknown and being with all of the discomfort of that.

So, on January 2, I bought myself a pair of baby blue skates – shearling-lined, warm and cozy.

That’s something I learned when I started cycling in the spring – setting yourself up for success really helps!? I had wanted to get a cheap bike, just to see if I’d like it.? My sister convinced me to get a really good bike, one that was comfortable for me, to increase the chances that I would like it.? Smart!

So I started with these really comfy skates to increase the odds that I would enjoy skating.?? Plus I spent so much money on them, in comparison to what it would cost to rent skates a few times, that I felt some determination to “get my money’s worth”.

I felt committed.

On January 4, I went for my first skate, with a friend who skates a lot and could show me the ropes.

I was really surprised by how hard it was.

I mean I loved being out there, and I loved the idea of having a fun thing to do outside in winter.? But I was really bad at it.? And I really really wanted to enjoy it but I wasn’t having fun.

I wasn’t stable on my skates.? I moved slowly.? I fell a lot.

There are benches and warming huts everywhere and I would spend as much time resting as I did skating – which was a really good way to get started. I liked the sitting parts, just being out on the ice.

But being on my feet in the skates stressed me out.? Plus I found it exhausting, like each stroke took so much effort but hardly got me anywhere.

And sometimes I just wanted to sit down on the ice and cry as other people glided past me and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t do that.

But I kept trying.? I wanted to like it and I felt like I would, if I gave it a chance.

I remembered when I started cycling how I got really tired then too, and how I got better at it really fast.? (Though cycling was never stressful, I never felt unstable on my bike so this felt more challenging.)

And I got a liiiiiitle bit better each time.

January 14 was one of my first “successful” skates, where I did more skating than sitting.

After taking this picture I even went up and skated over that bridge.

Then I re-connected with an old friend who, as it turns out, is super fun to skate with.? My first skating friend helped me learn the ropes, but he skates with hockey skates so he couldn’t show me specific stuff about how to use my skates.

My second skating friend showed me the magic of figure skating.? Twirls and spins!

Then I felt comfortable enough to go alone, and started going most days after work, even when no one else could come, and skated along the river while the sun set, which is crazy beautiful.

Skating on the river in Winnipeg is a pretty magical thing.

There’s an architecture competition every year to build warming huts along the skate trail – it’s like a magical little world opens up on the river.? There’s even a restaurant.

My whole experience of winter has shifted.

I wasn’t expecting that.? I was just hoping for something fun to do.

But now I have this thing that I am excited to do every day – like going to the park in the summer – I see winter in a whole new light and I’m not feeling all lethargic and slow and wishing for spring to come.

Instead of being annoyed by how little sun we have, I’m delighting in the early sunsets by being out on the river for them.

Following my dreams is leading me to some pretty cool places.

This is not where I thought my dreams would take me, at all.? The things that mattered most to me were always creativity and freedom.? I wanted to figure out how to not have a job, and spend my days being creative.

But as I have been getting more and more in tune with my own heart, soul and creative potential my dreams have grown and deepened and changed and surprised me.? And now I love things like skating on the river.

And, though the process of change and growth and learning new things is challenging, life just gets richer and deeper and better.

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