New Year's Resolution: Fall More

New Year's Resolution: Fall More

On January 1st, my kiddo and I went roller skating. I love roller skating. I don’t go as much as I’d like, but every time I go I have fun and feel great. This last time, I couldn’t help but notice all the falling. Little kids, bigger kids, adults, people of all shapes and sizes – wobbling, crashing into each other, tumbling to the ground. The rink was full, but not extra crowded, and I don’t think people were falling any more than they have when I’ve gone skating in the past. But here’s what I noticed this time: almost every time someone fell, it was a total non-event.

Nearly every time I saw someone fall, I also saw them pop right back up and keep going – as if nothing had happened. I don’t mean they were rushing from the spot, throwing quick glances over their shoulders with the embarrassed, “nobody saw that” urgency most of us feel when we, say, trip on the sidewalk. Nope. They just got up and moved along, oftentimes without even dusting themselves off. It was like, Yeah, I fell. So what?

Likewise, every one else on the rink barely seemed to notice when someone went down. They might give a little extra space as they glided around. Or not. Often, other skaters swayed just enough to avoid collision without throwing off their own rhythms or diverting from their own paths. Maybe that sounds callous or selfish, but I don’t think so. It wasn’t that they didn’t care. Instead, they understood: falling is a regular part of skating. It’s normal. Sometimes you go down. Sometimes you don’t. And when you do, it doesn’t stop you.

Of course, every so often there were kids who dropped hard then waited, dazed and hurt, for someone to come help them back on their feet. There were adults who, aware of their impending doom, went down with an exaggerated, comical flourish. And there were a handful of super-advanced skaters sailing easily around the rink, rolling their eyes at the novices clumsily struggling to stay upright. Honestly, though, those were the exceptions. What’s more, those who did fall the hardest were frequently back on the floor within minutes, teeth gritted, seemingly determined to go further or faster than they had before.

As I drove away from the Skateplex, I knew my goal for 2024: Fall more. Fall flat and hard. Fall flamboyantly, gracelessly. Fall privately and publicly, intentionally and unexpectedly. Just fall. Which really means: do the things that put me at risk of falling – again and again – because the more I fall, the easier it will be to get up and keep going, no matter what is happening around me.