Finding togetherness in an ice rink

The importance of learning to embrace every new challenge


For someone that has spent nearly 90 percent of her life walking upright, I have yet to truly master the skill. For whatever reason, my coordination and agility has always been lacking — this means that I am incredibly injury prone. Part of me likes to argue, “Well, who isn’t prone to the occasional, physical blunder?” But I far-surpass “occasional.” The word “frequent” is much more accurate. 

I tend to take special precautions in order to keep these injuries to a minimum. Some of which are obvious, such as the absolute and complete rejection of high heel shoes. Others, like wool socks, are less well-known — those socks tend to be much more slick. While it may seem a bit counterintuitive, I have fallen many more times in wool socks than heeled shoes. But likely for the simple truth that I have worn each a disproportionate amount — after all, anyone with a brain cell or two would choose socks over an arguable torture devices. 

With this in mind, I was not particularly thrilled when my 7-year-old sister took my hand one morning, as I sipped a blistering cup of coffee, and asked if I would take her ice skating. Now, my logical consciousness was quick to deny the request in an attempt to stay true to my cautious, self-preservative way of life. Although, another part of me — albeit, a smaller part — wanted to go with her and experience something new. After all, like everyone says, it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

We gathered our other siblings and bustled together to the skating rink. Now, my two little sisters are well-toned skaters. They have been playing hockey for years and tend to spend upwards of 15 hours at the rink a week. My 18-year-old brother and I, on the other hand, are a different case. We had only been skating one other time in our adult lives, and it seemed the chances of us actually picking up the skill was slim. But the chances of us falling, cracking our skulls or — God forbid — making complete fools of ourselves seemed high. Either way, my brother and I rented skates, tied our laces as tight as possible and eased our way onto the ice.

It was not graceful, to say the least. 

My brother and I fumbled and slipped in a chaotic mess of inelegant twists. We shuffled our feet slowly in an attempt to keep up with our younger counterparts, but that was a lost cause. While my sisters were eager to tow us along, skating backwards and holding our cold hands, they grew bored after an hour and began skating in literal circles around us — as to not leave our sides.

Admittedly, I wish that I could honorably declare that I surpassed my wildest expectations and learned to skate with the simple, eloquent ease that my little sisters possessed. However, that did not happen. In fact, the opposite. By the time we stepped off the ice, both of my knees were badly bruised, my jeans were ripped and my dignity had taken a massive hit. True, I knew all of these things were to happen, but there was one unexpected revelation — it was fun. Bumbling and all, it was time that I spent out of my comfort zone and with all of my little siblings. We tried together, slipped together and helped each other stand up after each and every fall. While my sisters had an expertise that my brother and I could not fathom, they never left our sides. 

I never expected to enjoy the outing on the ice, but it was the most memorable and exciting day I’ve had on break. I never expected to be good — or even decent — at skating, but I still skirted my way along the ice with a proportional amount of success. While it seems there is little to learn from such a common experience, it reminded me of the importance of togetherness. Experiences are all subjective, depending on the people you are with and your own state of mind. If everyone embraced all experiences, head-on, and searched for the good that could arise, I believe we would have a happier and more fulfilled world. 

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