Happy Wednesday, Friends! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays because I noticed a lot of my writer friends and creative types struggle with wellness and balance, as do I.
It may seem strange that my topic today is roller skating. When I was a kid, we roller skated all the time. It was the 80’s and roller skating was all the rage- remember Xanadu? We thought we were oh so cool, skating fast and doing “cross-overs” round the edges of the rink. We would watch in awe as the “Rexxers” did their dance steps and jumps, and we would try to do the same (well- not the jumps!). I remember doing the two step move with my sister, and to this day certain songs on the radio will just take me back. You know what I mean. Sometimes I close my eyes and just imagine skating backwards, and the tension in my shoulders just melts.
Fast forward thirty-five years later (OMG) and now we are heading to the very same roller rink with our kids. We are all so excited! I guess I have talked about roller-skating a lot with my kids. I took them once, two summers ago, and I had to teach them how to skate. Fortunately this rink now offers “skate-mates” which are two layers of PVC tubes in a V-formation with wheels on the bottom. So I could attend to one child whilst the other ventured out with the skate-mate. Clever invention, really. I didn’t really have the opportunity to skate fast on my own, as I was always helping.
The morning of the skating party, my young daughter asked me if I knew any skating tricks. I laughed out loud. “ I did, Honey, but I sure don’t think I could do them today!” She said, well, maybe you could just describe them to me, Mommy, or show me here. “Okay, honey, I said, well there’s this one called ‘Shoot the Duck.’ “ And her eyes brightened. Like I am her superhero. So I tried showing her right there, in the kitchen. “You squat like this, and then you kick one skate out in front of you.” And I fell on my butt. Yikes. MODED!
This time, both of my kids could manage pretty well, especially along the purple walls of the rink. So I tried to skate fast. I’m thirty-five years older and like a hundred pounds heavier. And I have anxiety and responsibility. I certainly do not want to be nursing any broken bones. I. Have. Fear. And I can’t seem to lift my feet to skate properly. I can do slow movements, even turns. I can skate backwards, making figure-eights, the kind where you don’t lift your feet and go very, very slowly. Finally, Coldplay comes on and I am inspired to actually skate fast down the lengths of the rink. But I am not confident enough to lift my skates and do “cross-overs” at the edges, so I slow my speed and just coast, like a skier, with my feet planted firmly, a little upper body lean towards the left (since we are skating in the counter-clockwise direction). I want to pick up speed at the length again, my brother-in-law is giving me a thumbs up, but I am TIRED. Seriously, I can’t even skate fast for half a song? Suddenly my feet lock and so I start to lose my balance, teetering dangerously forward and then backwards awkwardly. I’ve somehow contracted my core, whilst flailing my arms. Miraculously, I right myself and I am humbled. I hear my brother-in-law say “Nice catch!” as he zooms past, and an older roller-skating staff member offers some tips. But I am not listening to him. I’m done. I can’t wait to get off and drown in my diet soda.
Soon the DJ is playing the timeless Journey classic: “Don’t Stop Believin’” but I am not getting up to skate. I will not return to the rink this day. I think it has only been about an hour. I can hardly believe we used to do Crazy Trio’s and Shoot the Duck Wars, in back-to-back sessions. (Nowadays in California it is $18 per person for one session and skate rental, plus another $5 if you want to check out a skate-mate.)
I think I’ll go back to just pretending that I am roller-skating backwards just before I go to sleep. Try it. I close my eyes and I feel thirty-five years younger, skating my cares away as I (mentally) look over my right shoulder, knowing, that there is nothing in my way.