Once, as a teenager, I proudly announced to one of the amazing skiers we were friends with, that I had made it through the day without falling. His reaction?
“Then you didn’t try anything new.”
I’m sure if my mom or dad had said it to me at the time, I would have thrown my ski pole in their general direction, but as most teenagers tend to do, I took the comment from a friendly grown up as it was intended – encouragement to push myself further.
That attitude – that it’s better to risk failing than to avoid trying something new – is something I’ve tried to maintain in work and in life. Which all sounds good until you find yourself coming into work with trail rash on your face.
But as I considered whether it is smart for me, a 44-year old woman with two kids, a dog, and several employees to support, to participate in activities that could, I mean DO, lead to road rash ON MY FACE, I immediately came to the conclusion that it may not be smart, but it wasn’t just smart – it was essential.
Life is filled with risk, and choosing not to ride isn’t going to prevent injury – consider for a moment my friend who broke his leg when he slipped on ice TAKING OUT THE TRASH – and with each fall I learn something new. I determine what I did wrong. I consider alternative paths. And I put another item on my “to do” list of skills to acquire.
As my daughter gaped at me – astounded I was heading to work – I also considered how my confidence has risen since those teen years. Around the same time I was learning to ski, I fell off my bicycle, breaking my nose and scraping up my face. I’m sure I spent the time healing begging my mom to let me stay home from school and using my hair to camouflage the damage – which I’m also certain only drew more attention to the injuries.
Today? No makeup. No hair camouflage. Just some moisturizer and a pair of Ray-Bans my husband found on his trip to Iceland (sorry honey). Because scrapes on my face acquired while mountain biking doesn’t feel like something to be embarrassed about – it feels pretty badass.