Roller Skates

I don’t know how to roller skate, but I have always wanted to learn.

As a child I expected to receive a pair of roller skates as a gift on my birthday or on Christmas Day. I never received this item as a gift and I am not sure why. Needless to say, I was disappointed because this meant that I would never learn to skate. I could have borrowed someone else’s skates or rented a pair from the rink, but I feared contracting some irrevocable foot disease.

Years later and fully settled into adulthood, I attended a skating fundraiser at my neighborhood roller rink and became inspired by how people seemed to float around the rink with ease. Some performed basic moves—a sway here, a dip there—while others showcased their fancy footwork of high kicks, spins and flips as wide-eyed, inept onlookers like me watched in awe. Witnessing such antics was enough to sell me on signing up to take classes.

Finally, I would learn to skate.

I quickly realized, however, that learning to roller skate required much more time and energy than I expected. I needed to learn the fundamentals: proper stance, the correct way to get up after I’ve fallen, how to balance and distribute my weight on one leg or both legs, timed counts, etc. I couldn’t believe it! I thought this class would be fun. I expected to jump right in and become an expert after just one class. I mean, how complicated could it be to learn to skate?

But I was not having fun. I decided that this would be my first and only time in attendance and assumed the role of passive participant and stared blankly at the instructor during the rest of the class.

My enthusiasm for learning to skate did not invoke the same feelings of eager anticipation as when I was a kid. But I learned a lesson that day. I learned that sometimes, childhood desires are meant to be experienced as a child and are best left in the past, and that fond memories of them will do just fine.

What childhood passions have you explored as an adult, and what was the outcome?

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