At 26 years old, I felt like I was entering a quarter-life crisis. I was single, I hated my job, and I was getting ready to graduate college. And while that was an event that should have excited me, I was simply ready to get it over with and put that whole chapter behind me.
Around this time, I went on a cruise to the Caribbeans. I spent most of the vacation wishing I was in my own bed. However, one night, the cruise director announced there would be an ice show. I convinced my companions to come to the show with me and that was when it happened. The first genuinely pleasant feeling I’d had the entire vacation. In months, really. Watching those figure skaters whip around the tiny cruise ship rink with those expressions of freedom on their faces, I decided I was going to do everything within my ability to learn to do the same thing.
I’ve always wanted to learn to figure skate, but I didn’t know that it was possible for me to learn this sport past childhood. When I got home from my cruise, the very first thing I did was quit my job (the responsible way, of course). I searched on Amazon for decently priced figure skates and scoured YouTube for “How To Skate” videos.
Once my Jackson Ultima Excel skates arrived, I searched for the nearest rink to my house. It was less than 30 minutes away. The very first day I went to the rink, they were advertising their Learn To Skate classes. It was kismet. I signed up as soon as I possibly could for their next block of group classes starting two months later.
Skates — check.
Rink — check.
Classes — check.
From there, everything moved so quickly. I went from skating in a circle to getting through Adult level 4 in Learn To Skate within two months. The joy of learning a simple crossover was so great, I couldn’t even contain myself and I cried. Figure skating has slowly been changing me from the inside out. I want to take care of myself so that I can be at my best when I hit the ice. My eating habits have changed, I work out, and I’ve removed people from my life who made me feel like I wasn’t enough. I surround myself with so much positivity that even my skin is starting to clear up! 😉
The adult skating community is one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever been a part of. When one of us breaks through a wall and finally lands a skill, it’s all of our victories. And when we hit another wall, we help each other get over. When I have bad days, my rink-mates are the ones who get me out of bed and on the ice where I find my joy again.
Falling in love with figure skating has been a “head over heels” affair for me. I am the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. At 26 years old, I have found my inner child again. When I’m on the ice, the Zamboni has to chase me off. When I’m not on the ice, I’m thinking about the things I can do to improve my performance on the ice like joining a barre class or stretching every single night or buying a wobble board to help with my balance.
Everyone’s fear of getting on the ice is falling (remember that even Olympians fall). When I fall, I remind myself that it’s because I tried something new, and then I get up and try it again until I get it right. If there’s anything you will learn while figure skating is that it’s okay to fall, and it’s okay to have bad days. You just need to make sure that you aren’t staying down or giving up on yourself.