Adulting always interferes with skating

One of the most frustrating things about being an adult skater is when the skating gets eclipsed by the adulting.

In the time between now and my last post, I, among other things: traveled across the country and back for work, experienced my first West Coast earthquake, planned tomorrow’s work trip in a matter of hours, went to a memorial service, made a friend, turned another year older, and got paid to write an article about the importance of having a hobby while also completely neglecting mine.

A week and a half off the ice hurts. And a lot happens in that time. I went from bitterly missing my usual ice time and thinking about all the practice I wasn't getting to thinking about how easily I adjusted to a skating-less schedule and how maybe that means something I don't wanna think about. Because, like, who needs to be happy when you can just overthink everything instead, right?

Missing things is an absence of happiness. Not missing things is a deluge of relief. I rode both of those extremes recently because, yeah, I missed the hell out of flying across the ice just as much as I also DIDN'T miss worrying about how much my middling skating interferes with other, better skaters during freestyle sessions while simultaneously trying to ignore your average adult skater's rush of self-conscious nerves that apparently are just a thing I have to live with for as long as I keep skating because they don’t seem to go away ever.

I finally watched my pre-pre MITF video, which kinda helped put me in a weird place. I'm so visibly nervous! I look so stiff! I barely take my eyes off my skates the entire time! My t-stops are the sloppiest they’ve ever been! Like, how the hell did I actually pass? Why was the judge not more critical of all these things I need to fix?

But on the flip side… a little humility is never a bad thing. As much as skating brings out the best of my most prevailing neuroses, it remains one of the three areas in which I have any lick of confidence to speak of (the other two, of course, are writing/editing and the comfort of knowing that every dog I meet will love me in a matter of seconds). It’s also a thing that requires more effort to not only remain good at but also enjoy any progress in. I am still learning how to separate the frustration of stalled-out progress from how badly I want to excel at this maddening, demoralizing, and impossibly rewarding sport, and it is getting easier to accept that I get back as much as I put in.

I’ve reverted back to Wednesday and Saturday lessons being my only weekly ice time recently, and I know damn well that three hours of skating a week are not how I’m gonna improve—especially now that Lake Placid is officially a month away, and my to-do list of skills I wanted to ideally master but will settle for increased proficiency in is noticeably neglected. Sure, my scratch spins are the best they’ve ever been (I got, like, seven rotations the other day, I’m less inclined to go up on my toepick, and my tracings are looking more and more like circles instead of scrawling cursive with every attempt) and I might actually pull off a passable sit spin by the time I cross the NY state line, but the loop jumps I so desperately wanted to land are not really getting anywhere. But, again, that’s my own damn fault.

Things like skating, this blog, and the questions I wanna keep tackling to help other adult skaters feel like they belong here are important to me, and I need to start treating them like the priorities they are. But my job is ultimately how they’re all possible, and I need to not make myself feel guilty whenever I admit that I’m just one person with a finite amount of fucks to give and a limited interest in things that require more energy than staying in bed and ignoring the world. There’s self-care, and there’s self-discipline. I’m getting better at allowing myself to engage in the former without feeling guilty, and I need to work on holding myself accountable to keep up with the latter.

Because I’ve got three more tests I wanna take by the end of the year (Bronze MITF, Pre-Bronze FS, and ISI Bronze), and an adult skater weekend on the horizon. I’m tired of letting myself get all caught up in nerves. I’ve put so much of myself into skating, and it’s time I let myself enjoy this thing that I love instead of getting all wrapped up in perfection. Progress comes first, and that requires more practice time. No excuses.

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