Skating in the Rink of Life

Roller skating rinks play a big role in the lives of us ’80s kids. They were the scene for countless birthday parties, field trips and first kisses. The smells of nacho cheese, giant pickles and stale feet still take me back to the rink of my youth. And a walk down Memory Lane isn’t complete without black lights, couples skates and the “Hokey Pokey.” But when my friend asked me if I wanted to go roller skating on Saturday, I did not know what to say. So, I said “OK, but you have to catch me if I fall.”

the roller rink

Rockin' and rollin'

And we went. And it was … FUN! I made my own way around the rink for well over an hour — I didn’t even have to grab the wall! I was super nervous most of the time as kids bobbed and weaved in front of me and between me and my friend. There were several times I was certain I was going to run over some kid’s fingers when he fell in front of me. But I never did. And, I stayed on my feet the whole time — thanks to my friend who let me grab her arm a couple of times when a tumble was most definitely in sight.

As I was effortlessly gliding painfully stumbling my way around the rink, I noticed something: Many of life’s most important lessons were playing out right in front of me, under the purple glow of blacklights with Katy Perry blaring in the background.

  • Life Lesson #1: You will stumble. Sometimes you’ll fall, and sometimes you’ll catch yourself before you do. You can laugh it off and chalk it up to experience or you can let it throw you off and lose your balance. Either way, it’s your choice.
  • Life Lesson #2: When you fall, and you probably will, it might take you a few tries to get up on your feet. Once you do, you’ve gotta brush it off and keep moving forward. If you don’t, you might get run over.
  • Life Lesson #3: There will be people who are younger, better and faster than you. But that’s them. You’re you. You can only do your best, try your hardest, use your talents. Eventually, you could be out in that impressive “inner circle” — when you’re ready. For now, do what you can do and be proud of it.
  • Life Lesson #4: It’s OK to still need someone to hold onto — whether you’re 3 or 13 or 30. Not only does it make you feel safe, but it can make things more fun.
  • Life Lesson #5: You will always win when you stop to make sure other people are OK. If someone in the rink of life falls, stumbles or cries, you’re never wrong to slow down and ask if they need help. Usually they don’t. But if you help only one person who needs it, that’s what’s important.
  • Life Lesson #6: A sense of humor is a requirement. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you won’t get very far. Really, what’s more funny than a grown person hurling her clumsy self around a circular, wooden floor as teenagers and toddlers fly past her?

Last, but most importantly, not least:

  • Life Lesson #7: Just because something smells funny doesn’t mean it’s going to be awful. Sometimes in life you have to look past the smells and dive in — you might just like what you find.

All in all, skating was a roaring success. Though, I will admit that, at almost 30 years old, parts of my body hurt that I know for sure didn’t hurt when I was 13 years old. Who knows, I might even do it again. But next time there will be a giant pickle.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Skating in the Rink of Life

  1. Ah, this reminds me of skating to “Land of Confusion” by Genesis and “Walk of Life” by the Dire Straits. Thanks for your happy post!

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  2. How fun! I remember our skating parties so well, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. There was skating with Mike McCoy for “Couples Skate” to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Now every time I hear that song, I’m reminded of awkward strides around the rink with sweaty palms. Good times…

    But also good lessons learned. There are so many times I do something I haven’t done since I was young and forgot how much fun the simple things are! Combining a youthful spirit with the experience of now can make for some very powerful (and fun) moments–and sweaty palms, at times. Rock and roll, Kim!

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    • It’s funny … I felt so old at times skating around. But then, I also felt like some things never change: teenage boys and girls hiding in the corners, quarter machines with cheap rings and jewelry in them (that I’m sure have been the beginning of many first kisses), smokers hanging out outside. It was a very strange experience. But very fun.

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  3. wendy warren

    I really find it hard to believe that there wasn’t a pickle this time around

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