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  • Amanda Hoock

Release the Limitations

Over twenty years ago I asked for a pair of rollerblades for my birthday. Not sure why I had the desire, I surely did not carry it out. After wearing them about four times they were tossed into the back of a closet and remained buried in a closet no matter where I lived, nine moves in fact. Each time I moved, the rollerblades, pads and box came along with me. I would tell myself it didn’t hurt to hold on to them, someday I will use them. Being aware there was a slim chance these skates would be put back on my feet.


The years went by and the blades only made appearances when I moved. They served one purpose, to remind me that I own them and I never use them. Part of me felt a flicker of regret when I would pull them out during each move, but it would quickly fade. You would have thought I would have been driven to sell, donate or toss them. Instead they were a staple in my closet.


A year ago a friend brought up rollerblading. They had a pair and wanted to get back into practicing. Knowing I had a pair that have been waiting to be worn, I agreed it was a good idea. Pulling the rollerblades out after so many years felt like their purpose was finally being completed. All those years holding on to them, was finally making sense.


The first day out with the rollerblades we decided to go to a school parking lot. Baby steps, definitely baby steps. I strapped them on, then stood up with shaky legs. There were about eight poles positioned every ten feet or so. Those poles became my lifeline. I would rollerblade to each pole, pushing off the one, skating to the next, feeling grateful those poles were there to support me. I would grab onto them as if it was a long lost friend. A dose of practice made me feel a bit more comfortable. I wasn’t progressing fast, but I thought it may be time to go beyond those poles. Spotting another pole about twenty-five feet away and assessing the needle on my comfortability meter, I decided it was time to challenge myself.


While skating back and forth, black streaks started to appear under my feet. Initially, I didn’t think much about them, just made a remark. Shortly after realizing these black lines were not always there and I was creating them, my rollerblade wheels began to break apart. Chunks of the wheels were crumbling off. Small pieces at first, then bigger ones. Obviously I was not going to be rollerblading anymore that day. The wheels ended up failing me, becoming an obstacle. Not a major one, just one. Hanging out in the closet for their lifetime, never being used, they were no longer usable.


The solution, buy new wheels. Cost about fifty bucks. My friend put them on and we were off again a couple of weeks later. Each time we ventured out to practice skating I became increasingly better. My skating no longer required me grabbing onto poles. Flat surfaces were becoming boring and small hills more exciting. It was finally time to step away from the practice arena at the school parking lots and give it a go on an actual trail. We found a trail close to my home. First time out I was nervous, but I didn’t do too bad. Even had to cross the street a couple of times.


After hitting the trail a few times, the evolution of my rollerblading skills had become stagnant. There was little growth happening, although there was plenty more to learn. Then one day, not too long ago, another friend of mine was goofing around and put on my rollerblades. They fell and fell and fell. It was amusing, but it made me realize how far I had come. Considering rollerblading is not generally a talent that people are born with. Most people won’t throw on skates and just go. It takes some practice, dedication of time and effort. Seeing my friend on the skates gave me the confidence I needed to push me past the current level of skating.


Just the other day, I popped on the skates, went to the trail near my house. Being Fall, nature's obstacles were in full force. Tree droppings of nuts, needles and twigs of all sizes covered the pavement at particular points. But this day, I picked up my speed, crossed the street with ease, went down hills gracefully, even learned a trick on how to slow myself down on the hills. A tumble did occur, but there were too many twigs to become avoidable. No worries, I caught myself and was protected with my wrist guards. It hit me on this precise day, something I thought I was going to do when I was near twenty, is now something I am learning and getting better at the age of forty-two. This line of thought made me think about how we put so many limitations on ourselves based on age.


One time while rollerblading, I passed someone walking adjacently to the trail, someone who looked about my age. She giggled as she saw me cross the street, rolling ungracefully over the bubbly dots that covered the sidewalk ramp from the street. She called out to me that she was thinking of trying out rollerblading, but thought she might be too old for it, her bones too fragile. I didn’t say anything to her, just smiled. Knowing that actions speak much louder than words, I continued on rollerblading.


These limitations we give ourselves, these time tables we set upon our lives, is counterproductive for us discovering what we are capable of and enjoy doing. Maybe you had some dream when you were younger, it is never too late to get back to it. Possibly you had a sport, hobby or even career you wanted to conquer when you were younger, but life took you down a different path. It is never too late to work on it now. I assume I held onto the rollerblades deep down wishing that I would be able to use them some day. To see if I had the ability to actually rollerblade. Not knowing that it wouldn’t happen until I was in my early forties. Something stopped me when I was younger. It may have been that I wasn’t ready to learn, or my attention was elsewhere during that time.


Stop limiting what you are able to do. Whatever that desire you have in your heart, it is never too late. Of course there are going to be obstacles and things will most likely not go smoothly. My wheels fell apart, I had to take extreme baby steps, I looked ridiculous at times, I fell a few times, but overall my practice moved me in the right direction. Am I brilliant at rollerblading? Not at all! I have tons of growth ahead of me, but the confidence is growing and the risk taking is becoming more prevalent.


As adults we have to stop being afraid to take chances because we are not sure of the outcome. How many times have you turned away from making even tiny risks, afraid of making a mistake or feeling out of your comfort zone. Adults seem to develop an aversion to trying new things. Considering that making mistakes are for the young, that adults should have things all figured out. How untrue. We should always be discovering what talents lie beneath the surface. We should always be learning. This slows time down for the learner and gives the brain a much needed boost. In addition to giving us more inspiring lives.


Best of luck with your new desire, passion, adventure. Whether it is a hobby, activity, career move, educational endeavor, whatever it may be. Remember as you do this, keep reflecting on how far you go. Congratulate yourself on your accomplishments and share them with others.


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