I started the “Learn to Skate” program with Anchor City Rollers in January 2016, despite a few family members asking, “You are doing what?” and my partner, who said, “Maybe you should get in better shape first.” Great point, but the comment felt rather discouraging – I took it as a dare.
Full disclosure: I am a 45-year-old overweight mother of two girls, and I have not participated consistently in exercise in a very long time.
When I was growing up, my buddies and I always had some sort of wheels on our feet – roller skates, skateboards, ice skating in the ditch when it froze over in the winter – and we lived at Wheelies in Sackville. I knew I could do it….had been able to do it….could I still do it?
What I didn’t anticipate about learning to skate all over again: my back ached every practice because squatting while skating (best description of derby stance) fucking hurts, I fell a lot and it hurts, and anything endurance related set my recently-quit-smoking lungs on fire. I also didn’t anticipate coming to the realization that my inner dialogue was toxic and holding me back. It would tell me things like “you can’t do that,” and “you won’t be able to,” with a so-sarcastic sneering “good luck” thrown in at times. I didn’t even know my thoughts were so negative. I believed myself to be a confident and positive person with healthy self-esteem. I didn’t anticipate that joining Anchor City Rollers would improve my self-esteem. I felt so proud each time I gave myself mental high fives, or left practice bursting with a sense accomplishment. I didn’t anticipate that this group of people would be so amazing, intelligent and uniquely who they are, and they gave me a weird sense of permission to be unapologetically myself.
As I have gone through this process, I have reached some points where I have checked in with myself to have a chat. After a few injuries happened with my derby family I asked myself, “Will this get me to quit?” “Was that scary enough to side line me?” The conclusion I came to is that my own injury would have to take me out and that doesn’t scare me off.
Another conversation I have had is about pushing myself to the next level. I have passed the minimum skills (so freaking proud of myself) and now have the opportunity to skate with seasoned skaters. Sometimes I chicken out, sometimes I genuinely feel like the skills being practiced are beyond my current abilities, and I hesitate to try. It’s another mental barrier I have to overcome.
The answer to the question “Am I too old for this shit?” is no. Most of what I have spoken about is mental and a process of growing internally; it has nothing to do with age. I still have work to do. You are never too old for that shit.