What Ice-Skating Taught Me (Aside From Gliding On Ice)

My first time on ice gave a refresher on life’s oldest adages.

To try ice-skating this year was not part of my 2016 plan, though it has been a lingering idea since childhood. I did not really have much drive to push through with it since (1) parents are not as enthusiastic as I am about my ice-skating adventure when I was a kid and (2) the fee for ice-skating is quite expensive (it’s P450 for an unlimited time in the rink) that I’d rather spend it on clothes and food—and bills. That was, until my closest friend and colleague in the workplace, Mela, asked for company.

Upon seeing the skating rink though, uncertainty and fear swept through me. What if I fall? Or what if I get hurt? What if I suffer the same fate as Kuya Earl who had five stitches on his forehead after he went out of balance on ice? I had second thoughts about ice-skating, I almost backed out.

I was in cold sweat when I took that step on the slippery platform while holding on to Nico, who knew how to ice-skate. Drat, I thought to myself, I am so sure I’ll make myself a laughing stock, especially in front of the kids, who are really good at it. And I’m sure I’ll never see the light of day.

I took another step. And another. My grasp getting tighter as we walked away from the mouth of the rink. And then I let go, slowly, still making small steps, until finally, I got my balance and let go of his hand.

I experienced few falls, and I almost drained the blood from my hands, but I managed to get up all the time, thanks to Nico who was patient enough to be right by my side when I’m about to fall, staying quiet most of the time, cheering for me when I was doing it right.20161202_15241920161202_151949

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After more than an hour on ice, my meaning-finding side who’d often find time to mull things over at the situation, right then and there, saw the entirety of ice skating rink as one of the many allegories of life. Here are some of the things I kept in mind while I was learning to ice-skate, all of them I already know I learned in life:

  1. Balance is key. Balance is undeniably the core of ice-skating. Learning it is tricky, but it’s a necessity to survive the activity. We cannot move forward without balance. And like in life, balance is the core of a contented life. To find balance, one must learn to attend to all aspects in life-be it work, family, friends, love, and last but never the least, relationship with God.
  2. Take a break. One of the things I need to do to keep myself in check is to stop. When I feel like I’m going to lose my balance on ice, I stop and go low to a crouching-like position. Physics thing, they say. In life, I do this most of the time, when I feel like I’ve been a mess. I stop and shut people off temporarily, going low. Learning to skate, in the same way as living life, is not a race. It’s okay to take time and to take a break, because most of the time, it’s the process or the journey that matters more than the goal itself.
  3. Let go. The main thing that’s keeping me from taking a step forward on ice is the fear of falling and the fear of being out of control once I get to glide smoothly across the surface. I feared getting laughed at, and mostly getting embarrassed in front of the person I love. But after I let go, of Nico’s hand, and of the fear of falling, gliding was easier; I felt free… and infinite. In life, I tend to dwell on my mistakes, blaming myself for all the faults I did, not realizing the hurt I’m inflicting to myself, too. Letting go makes up for all mistakes, as long as I learn from it.
  4. It’s okay to get hurt. Who cares if I do weird stances to keep myself from stumbling? Who cares if I fall face down on ice? Who cares if I make blunders, big or small? People may mind at first but they’d have their own business to attend to, so it won’t last long. So, go on, just enjoy, get hurt, and learn from it.
  5. Ask for help. When in doubt, ask for help. I was determined to learn things by myself because I would not want to be a burden to others. But it won’t hurt, too, if I listen to someone can chip in an advice or two about ice-skating, as well as in life. CV
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