In some ways, the story behind my new skateboard set up seems a good analogy for life.
The build itself started when I ordered a spare blank deck (I love its simplicity and cleanness), and, either by placing my order carelessly or an error on the website’s end, instead of receiving a deck my usual 7.75 inches wide, I received an 8.25. I realise this may sound like nothing to a non-skater, but it does make a significant difference. I have no hardware suitable for this wide a deck, but instead of sending it back I took my/their mistake as an opportunity to experiment and try something new! That same morning I ordered new 5.5 inch trucks to match the deck’s width, and thought that while I was at it I’d order some 56mm A-cut wheels (monstrously enormous compared to the 50mms on my current deck).
In fact, I didn’t stop there, ordering new bearings and bolts too, to commit fully to an entirely new build. The truth is, as with many things in life, I had become very comfortable with my set up; I have been riding the same trucks for the last 6 years, the wheels for the last ten, and – whilst the boards themselves wear out and break – I have exclusively ridden 7.75s as long as I can remember (excluding one 8 inch early on that was too big for me, and a 7.5 years later that by then was far too small). Maybe I’ll love the new set up, and maybe I’ll hate it. But at least I’ll know, and I’ll have learnt something from the experience.
And this is true of all facets of life – leaving one’s comfort zone is a risk: maybe things will improve as a result, and maybe they won’t. Sometimes we may choose to leave that comfort zone, but too often we will choose the opposite, and it takes a mistake, surprise, or just dumb luck to force us out. Of course, a new skateboard set up is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but when changes in life are more significant there is also inevitably also more to be gained. After all, you have to move to move forward.
When life gives you lemons…