Monday, February 22, 2010
So, I just spent the weekend with my husband's brother and sister-in-law and our two nephews, who are four-almost-five and 16 months. My sister-in-law is kind of my hero. Not only has she helped introduce her oldest to the wonder of Lady Gaga with only a little bit of shame (he asked, by name, for "Just Dance," "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance" and then knew good chunks of the words), she has also recently gotten involved in roller derby. She just passed her skills test last weekend, and will be drafted at the end of the month. She's kicking around derby names (Jabba the Slut, Princess Slaya, Yid Viscious and Gaza Strip are all in the running - your votes are welcomed!) and says she doesn't think she's ever enjoyed anything in her life as much as she enjoys this. She's a 35-year-old lawyer and she was also absolutely terrified going to her first practice all by herself.
If you're like us, you've spent the last week and a half watching incessant Olympic coverage, crying at all the heartwarming human interest stories and wondering what life would be like as an elite athlete. If you're like me, you've continued to sit your ass on the couch and just marvel at that kind of dedication, feeling a little bit bad that you're not more motivated. But you know what? It's not necessary to leap into 8-hour training days and an 8,000-calorie diet to be awesome. You can be awesome in a thousand other ways that may not have even occured to you.
Brownie, for example, swam a mile for a women's cancer charity about three months after she started swimming regularly. Daisy tried out for Jeopardy! and qualified (she didn't make the show - turns out they might not like it if you swear when you miss an answer). Between the three of us, we have friends who have travelled around the world alone, learned a foreign language at 40, started competing in marathons and triathlons and quit their well-paying jobs to start their own business. We know and love people who've learned - as adults - go-go dancing, belly dancing, a musical instrument, aerial silks and how to roller skate. And they all have one thing in common - they didn't talk themselves out of it, no matter how scary it was.
It's easy to doubt yourself, to not go to tryouts or the intro class, because you think you're too old or not in good enough shape or that you lack rhythm. I'm doing it right now, in fact - the roller derby league in my city has drop-in nights every Sunday, and I'm making every excuse I can think of. It's too far away. It's ten whole dollars. I don't know shit about it. I'm not tough enough, not cool enough, and I haven't been on skates in a thousand years. But you know what? I've wanted to do it for what feels like ages, my friends and my husband - not to mention my sister-in-law - are encouraging me, and I just might love it. If I don't? That's okay. At least I will know that for sure, instead of just deciding that I won't love it without ever trying it. And so next Sunday? Look for me at Drop-In Derby Night. I'll be the terrified-looking one in the rented skates attempting to not fall on her ass.
As for you, take a moment, and think about it. Think about the thing that has always sounded interesting to you but that you've always dismissed for whatever reason. Cooking school. A walkabout. Glassblowing. Whatever it is, the next time it comes up, just stop, think about the balls it takes to cut through your own bullshit and go for it.