My instructors failed to tell me how quickly I had advanced before I signed up for this last round of figure skating lessons, so I signed up for a class that is below my skill level. My classmates consist of four middle-aged women who are only just learning to navigate the ice. Naturally they are impressed by my simplest of spins.
“It must be easier when you’re young,” the oldest of my classmates observed. “You’re probably not afraid of falling.”
If I were not afraid of falling, I would be jumping by now.
I didn’t say the words aloud. I’m not even sure I could have forced them from my dumbstruck mind if I had tried. Because as I sat there with the words tucked safely within my thoughts, I wondered if they were true. Is my fear of falling the only thing keeping my blades on the ice? Could it be as simple and yet as complicated as a mind game?
My instructors seem to believe so. I hear their voices filtering through my thoughts.
Elaine: “You’re holding back.”
Austin: “You’re overthinking it.”
Gary: “It’s all in your head.”
It is not “all in my head,” there’s quite a bit in my uncoordinated feet, too.
(For whatever reason, Gary has always been the easiest to argue with.)
But the truth remains that I am afraid of falling. I don’t like sprawling across the ice. I am not fond of limping through Walmart after a particularly grueling lesson. And while purple is one of my favorite colors, I’d rather not see it blooming in bruises across my knee.
As far as I’ve come since I first walked into the Chiller and strapped my mom’s old skates to my feet, I have definitely not arrived. I still don’t fully trust my skates, or my feet, or my balance.
So I hold back. I overthink it. I go through all the motions, but I still won’t put a jump in my waltz. Because I’m afraid the landing might be painful. What is meant to be a three-step routine—waltz, waltz, jump—turns into an endless cycle of waltzing in circles thinking this time I might risk it.
But I never do.
And it’s not only on ice that I feel this way. I let fear cripple me in just about every aspect of life.
My heart says to take the risk, make the leap.
My mind asks, “But what if I fall?”
I think too far ahead. I analyze every possible movement. I worry over the ending before I’ve even begun.
I waltz and waltz and waltz in continuous circles never finding the courage to jump.
When it comes to making the great leaps in life, we could all use a change of perspective.
You could fall. You really could. You could collect a few more bruises, leaving you to limp through life another day more.
Or you could stick the landing. You really could. And just think of how glorious that will be.
Some questions will never be answered until we take that leap.
“But what if I fall?”
Oh, but darling, what if you don’t?
What if you land this? What if you check right into that perfect glide?
Let us all be brave enough to put a little jump in our waltz.