Why is it that learning something new is getting harder and harder the older we get? Or is it only a preconceived notion? Maybe we’re just lazy and think that we already know what we like and what we want to do in our spare time when we’re adults.
I decided to challenge this perception and also, as an added benefit, learn something new. I decided that I’m going to learn how to ride the skateboard. Now, I’m not going to aim for the X-games, neither am I going to try and ollie over a train track anytime soon, I just want to be able to cruise down on the skateboard without looking like a deer on ice.
So how did all of this start? Well, to be perfectly honest I have always been interested in skateboarding and have always enjoyed watching it on TV or watching others skate around. The reason why I didn’t pick it up while I was younger you ask? I don’t know. I had no reason not to start. I played bass in a cool band, I had long hair, I spent way to much time playing the Tony Hawk Skateboarding video games. I guess I was just too lazy to start, or perhaps too afraid to not knowing how to do it and look like a fool.
It’s funny how the mind can play games on you. When thinking about it rationally, of course, you will suck the first time you stand on a skateboard. You suck at everything the first time you try something out, but you really want to go down to the skatepark and just cruise down the banks land a front side 180 and boardslide your way down to the deep end of the pool.
In reality, you go down to the skatepark you fight to hold back the tears when you go down the smallest bank around because you think that you’re speeding in 200 km/h.
Well, enough of that. My 7-year old son wanted me to join him when he was taking his skateboard to the skatepark so I thought “hey, here I have a golden opportunity to not only bond with my son, I can learn something new and also challenge myself to do something that I really hate. Admit that I am lousy at something. Said and done. I went to the skate shop and started to look at different decks. How do you know which one to take? I’m a pretty tall guy and have big feet so I tried some of the decks out and settled for one that I felt comfortable with. Note here that I know nothing about decks and what to look for, I only went for the feeling (and also a little bit for the cool motive on the truck-side of the deck).
The deck came bundled with trucks. Great!
First up was to check if I wanted to have tight or loose trucks. Without knowing I immediately felt more comfortable with loose trucks. It enabled me to turn more freely. Sure, it comes at the expense of stability, but that is something that I’m planning to get better at anyway.
The first ride was just outside the house, trying to be able to stand on the board while going down a really small slope. I felt the wind in my hair, the adrenaline was pumping the more speed I got and then my son walked passed me asking why I didn’t go faster.
After this first attempt, I watched some YouTube videos about what to think about as a beginner and the next day my son and I went to the skate park.
Trying to ignoring the fact that I was the dad (both literally and figuratively) and the skate park I put on my protective gear and gave it a go. it felt good! It was fun, and I felt “yes, I’m definitely going to do this again”. I started out at the smallest bank working my way to some of which were a little bit steeper. I fell, which you do, but after an hour or so I started to feel that I understood the basics theoretically.
Now two months later, I still can’t land any tricks, but I can go down almost all banks, return down fake and then revert back to regular. Not too shabby for being the dad at the skate park.
What I Take With Me
Skateboarding is a great way of working up your balance and body control. The board is just the tool but your body is doing all the work. So I see it not only as a new hobby but also as a kind of exercise.
Besides the physical aspect, there is a mental challenge, where I try to do something, fail, try again, fail, try again and so forth…
The saying “the definition of insanity is to try the same thing out over and over again and expecting different results” comes to mind, because this is really the only thing you do. You try something, you fall, you try it again you fall, you try it again and eventually you will succeed, not only proving that the saying (because what you’re doing really is insane) but also proving to yourself that you’re getting better, and that you are able to learn new things, find new hobbies and be that open-minded person that you really want to be.
One thing I was worried about in the beginning was how the teenager at the skate park would look at me, but to my surprise, the community was very welcoming and I haven’t felt alienated or weird once while being at the skate park. Even though I fall and my board crosses someone’s line so that they will have to abort or bail. That’s great, the skateboard community is awesome!
Don’t be afraid to try something new, and definitely, don’t think that you’re too old or too much of a dad to start something new. I am guaranteed that you will feel not only happy with yourself but also inspired to perhaps try new things out in other aspects of life as well.
I will come back to this topic again and tell you how the progress is going and if I have any new thoughts about skateboarding.
Have you learnt something as an adult? Let me know in the comments and if you want to get notified of more blog posts like this you can sign up for the newsletter.
Take care, and be safe.