habit shift: permission to fall.

March 5, 2018

The bruise is spreading like a slowly blooming jellyfish across my left hip. Dark purple and bright blue and blurry at the edges. It’s tender to the touch and my blue jeans put more pressure on it than I wish they did. But the tender spot doesn’t stop the jitter in my legs. I have that particular kind of springtime jumpiness that’s making me want to pack up my computer and head to the park even though it’s cold and windy.ย 


James gave me my skateboard two years ago on my birthday. I’ve ridden, but timidly. I’ve been embarrassed, maybe, not to be better, or faster, or more sure of myself. I’ve been afraid, a bit, of falling. Or failing. Probably both.

For the past few weekends we’ve taken advantage of sunshine to head to the parks. Faye has demanded that I bring along my skateboard and so dutifully, I have. It doesn’t occur to her that I might not be sure of myself. She sees me glide across the skate park and she’s is gleeful, giddy, giggling. She chases after me and begs to ride, too. She sees me tumble off the board. She’s utterly unfazed. What’s a fall in a day that’s full of them?


Another child arrives to the park on rollerblades.ย 

“I’m just learning,” he explains to us.ย 

“Me, too,” I say.

“You’re really good.” His blue eyes sparkle and he grins at me and races off, knees knocking.

“Thanks,” I call after him. “You are, too.”


A habit shift: Giving myself permission to fall. (And yes, I’ve ordered a helmet. This one.)

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  • Reply Jen March 5, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I seriously love this so, so much. I went on a big, adventurous trip last year (3 weeks rafting through the Grand Canyon) and came back feeling all kinds of inspired to try new things, to push through my anxiety about not being good at them right away. So I’m rock climbing with a friend. I’ve gone to the climbing gym twice and shared the easiest routes with small children. Now I’m learning how to belay. Am I an immediate expert? No. But I am doing it. I’m totally doing it. Cheers to trying new things. To falling and failing (and getting back up).

    • Reply Sally March 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Also a newbie climber here! It’s become such a wonderful way to work out in the winter and get outdoors in the summer, although it tests me and my anxiety every time I go. I’m still amazed every time I push myself a little bit further and further and realize I can do things I thought I couldn’t.

      • Reply Jen March 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm

        Yay! Sally! Cheering for you from afar ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Sharon March 5, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I learned to skate 10 years ago, when I was 28! It’s such a satisfying feeling to learn a new skill and skating is so damn fun. I remember initially being embarrassed and then being proud to display my bruised knees and shins that first summer I learned how to skate.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 5, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Love this so, so much. I started bouldering (indoors, the short walls with no ropes) a year or so ago, and I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to improve unless I learned how to fall. Literally! So I took a few weeks and slowly, slooooowly trained my lizard brain to trust what I logically already knew (that it is, in fact, pretty darn safe and not that dangerous to fall feet first, in a controlled manner, from about 5 feet up onto a massive two-foot-thick padded surface). I had to start with my feet just a foot off the padding, and jump and land, and go up again and jump and land, and then go up just a few inches higher and jump and land, etc.

    Now, it’s still briefly scary to jump, but I know that my body knows what to do. And, WHAT A THRILL to start to get good at it!!! I so treasure the privilege and ability to be able to throw my body around and feel its resilience in my bones. <3

  • Reply Becky March 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Canโ€™t explain how much I love this! Play time! As an adult! Yesssss!

  • Reply stella March 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    i love this so much! I think you look super cool and just doing it is super cool. ps glad you got a helmet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Meghan March 5, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Just love this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Megan March 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    I think itโ€™s so great that our kids get to see us trying and learning new things. And possibly even failing initially, but we persevere.

  • Reply cappy March 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I bought my longboard this year with birthday money. I decided to go for it since I have always wanted to learn to surf and well…getting to the beach during prime surf conditions in upstate CT is impossible. When I told my husband he laughed hysterically. He said…”what will people think when they see this over 40 yo trying to skate?!” I told him…it will look even better when I am wearing all the protective gear like head, wrist and knee pads. We both laughed. (he really is very supportive) But thankfully of my ripe-ish age…I am beyond worried about looking “cool” and desperately looking for something fun for me to do along side my scooter-riding kids. Glad you are getting out there! Your pictures make it look easy or you are a natural!

  • Reply Doe March 5, 2018 at 7:48 pm


  • Reply Jane March 5, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Yes!! Cheering you on!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Joanna March 5, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    You are so cute in this. I can’t take it, I’m learning the guitar as a 40 something. I fall and fail often but I do love it! Great post.
    Please share where your shoes are from.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2018 at 9:44 am

      So great! Shoes are PF Flyers!

  • Reply Laura March 6, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Oh that looks like fun! I really wanted to learn to ride a skateboard as a kid, but none of the other girls did it so I never said anything. There are some advantages to getting older, and less worried about what other people might think!

    I was going to get a scooter this summer to ride with my daughter, but maybe I should consider a skateboard instead.

  • Reply Mackenzie @organicbutterflyblog March 6, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Loved when you posted your photo of this on Instagram ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, that is a totally cool-looking skateboard!

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic March 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I love the sweater you’re wearing in the pictures. And I don’t know if I could ever skateboard. Roller blading/skating is hard enough; it seems like skateboarding is harder.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks so much! I love it, too! I don’t roller blade or skate, really! I think they’re all kind of hard but get so much easier with practice! xx!

  • Reply LaTonya March 6, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Proud of You!!


  • Reply Dalal March 7, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Wow! I thought that I was the only one trying to do this in my adult life. I received a longboard in my 30th birthday last year. It’s been a childhood dream of mine, but I get the feeling of insecurity. I do enjoy it a lot though, it makes me feel like a kid again.

    Keep going

  • Reply Suzanne March 7, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Good for you! Looks like you had so much fun, and I love that you got a nice compliment from a cute little boy on rollerblades :). Would love to know where your pants are from. Thank you!

  • Reply C March 8, 2018 at 2:22 am

    I met a 70+ yr old women a few weeks ago at a mom and pop ski area near Vancouver BC. Originally from Sarajevo, she was told it was too late to learn to ski at age 17!! Fast forward to age 63, she decides to learn (after hearing of a newbie 70 yr old skier) and is going strong and skiing w her grandkids. I loved her and I love this story. Itโ€™s never too late to learn most anything.

  • Reply CRISTINA March 8, 2018 at 4:44 am

    I never comment, but this time I had to. Good for you, for trying, for daring! You look totally cool, plus super-stylish.

  • Reply D March 8, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Look so cute. Where did you get your sweater?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 8, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Thank you! My sweater is this one from Babaa!

  • Reply Alice March 11, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Hello! Well done you! Can you tell me where your mittens came from? I used to have a pair just like them, but lost them and I couldn’t find the mitten version- but plenty of the gloves. I have missed them! The leather palms are the best and they are so warm.

  • Reply Alissa Mandala-Kaynak July 12, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I’m scared to try skateboarding. This gives me a little hope to try myself some day!

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