Today, as I do everyday, I pulled my skateboard and spare shoes out of the boot of my car for a skate after work. The site has a plethora of brilliant skate spots, and it feels great to work up a sweat and get some fresh air in my lungs after a long day in the laboratory.
But today I want to talk about one aspect of skateboarding in particular: falling. For a long time I haven’t fallen off my board – not because I am brilliant, but because I had stopped pushing myself. When you do the same few tricks enough you both land them more consistently and learn how to land on your feet (once sufficiently familiar with a trick you can feel when a trick isn’t quite right and can kick the board away in time to land safely).
Having recently received official confirmation that I’ll be graduating my Master’s degree with a distinction, starting a new job, and with my first serious solo EP coming along nicely, my confidence is at an all time high. As a result, I am throwing myself at new tricks like never before. And honestly I have never had more fun on a board. The only downside to this approach to skating is that following a fairly lengthy hiatus (since bailing to avoid a bus when bombing down a road a couple of years ago) I have had a few proper slams again. In fact I did just that both yesterday and today.
Yesterday was rainy and wet, and an under-rotated hardflip put me on my back after landing “primo” (with the board on its side), whereas today I simply misjudged a backside 50-50 on a ledge and before I knew it was on the ground again. Falling is inevitable if you push your limits. Sometimes it pays to take the leap and commit, and sometimes you end up on the ground, but crucially you are still progressing and moving forward; sometimes knowing what went wrong leading to a crash leads to a breakthrough realisation that helps you figure out how to land a trick better than you ever could have worked out if it weren’t for that lesson, courtesy of the school of hard knocks.
And that’s just life. Of course, you could never try anything at all and therefore never fail, but what satisfaction would that bring? Whatever you do, whatever your dream, stick at it and work as hard as you can. If you should fall, dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes, and get back at it like never before.