Last Sunday I taught a skating lesson to a woman named Claire, age 25.
On my way to my local part-time-roller-part-time-ice-rink in Central Pennsylvania I wondered what inspired this 25 year old, not much younger than me, to learn how to ice skate. I couldn't wrap my head around it. As I pulled into the parking lot I figured it could only mean one thing: she must be a little different.
I was intrigued.
You see, the reason I thought she must be different had nothing at all to do with her and everything to do with me. Because until Sunday it never actually occurred to be that an adult could or would have the desire to learn how to figure skate. Yet there she was, legwarmers and all, ready to learn.
She was not different at all. She was inspiring.
After talking about her goals (to skate backwards and do a spin), and maybe sensing my initial ageism, she explained that she saw an adult skater on TikTok and decided: I want to do that.
The same five magic words I said when I was three.
Claire said she had never seen anyone with her body type, let alone an adult, learn how to figure skate and quite frankly, neither had I.
"This is so badass." I thought to myself.
Having just spent the past hour on the ice beating myself up about all of the skills I could no longer do, here was Claire ready to discover what she was capable of.
What I had forgotten was that when we insist on being productive or pursuing only hobbies that can be commodified we miss out on the things that have the potential to bring us so much joy, regardless of whether we are good at them.
Like skating for the love of skating, with no desire to compete with anyone but yourself. Simply for the unparalleled freedom of moving your body in ways that feel good and the excitement of trying new things. Replace skating with any verb of your choosing and the sentiment remains the same.
So next time you find yourself saying "I want to do that" let this be your invitation to begin.