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Following Your Passions - Michael's Story

Have you ever wanted to do something but not tried it in fear of what others may think of you?

For me, this thing was skateboarding. For at least 3 years, I’ve been wanting to take up skating. It’s always seemed like an extremely fun activity, but I was put off from taking it up for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, I was worried I would be no good at it, and I was anxious about skating in public for fear of being laughed at. Most people who skate started when they were kids, and have been developing their skills for their whole lives! How could I ever expect to get anywhere? Secondly, I didn’t want to be perceived as taking up skating because I wanted to look ‘cool’. A big part of my identity lies in wanting to be unique and different from everyone else, so the thought of people judging me on this was also a real put off. Skateboarding is also seen as a ‘young person’ thing to do in society, so at the age of 27, feelings of being judged for doing a ‘kids’ activity was also daunting.

 

I thought maybe I should just watch some videos of other people skating to try to push me to that next level of motivation, and after having seen some videos of 70 year olds doing some crazy things, I realised I really didn’t have a valid excuse not to give this a go.

 

Only a couple of months ago, I bit the bullet and bought myself a skateboard (the cheapest one I could find). After buying it, it still took me several weeks before I decided to actually take it out for a spin. Baby steps. I started by practicing in some side streets and isolated parks, as I was still anxious about how I would look. After a few trips, I gained the confidence to ride out to the shops. This was by far the biggest step, and the most rewarding.

Skating has had such an impact on my life. It forced me to face my anxieties and insecurities. It forced me to question why I care about what other people think about me. This is a double-edged sword of course; everybody wants to be loved, but why should I care about people who are willing to judge me on something so trivial? I realised I shouldn’t care, and the people who matter in your life are going to accept you for you.

 

And yes, I was crap at it at first (and to be honest, I’m not that crash hot at it still). But if anything, that just made me feel more empowered. Again for the same reasons. Pushing past caring about what other people were thinking of me, and just doing something purely because I enjoy it has been extremely satisfying.

 

Skateboarding has turned out to be such a blessing for me in so many ways. Apart from everything that I’ve already mentioned, it’s just a really nice feeling to have the air blowing back on you as you go down a hill, and watching yourself slowly improve at something.

 

When you are ambivalent about trying something, ask yourself this: would you feel worse if you were to try the activity and fail, or would you feel worse to have never had the courage to try it, and always wonder what it could have been? For me, the answer is the second statement. Life is here to be lived, and we only get one shot at it.

 

So whatever your passions are, make sure you give them a go! They may not go the way you planned, or they may exceed your expectations. But either way, at least you will have your answer, and can find solace in the fact that you had the courage to try something new, and explore who you are as a person. Just be you.

Written by Michael, ADAVIC Volunteer

 

 

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