Too Old For This
The title of this post is what echoed in my mind the moment I thought about taking gymnastics classes again. I had recently turned 25 and as much as I missed gymnastics, the thought of putting on a leotard and tumbling around on the floor with children made me cringe.
As a young adult woman, there was a sense of embarrassment at the thought of being in a gymnastics class with 5 year olds. Can you blame me?
So that left me with two options.
1.) Don’t do anything about my desire and forget I wanted to do gymnastics again.
2.) Find out if adult gymnastics classes existed and if I could make it work with my schedule.
After searching through numerous websites and calling different gyms, I finally found a couple adult classes that had piqued my interest. I attended a few classes and was feeling pretty good about myself, until last week.
We were working on back handsprings – something I’ve never done before, even when I did gymnastics as a child. The instructor assured me I’d be fine as he harnessed me into a contraption to keep me safe and then…he told me to “go for it”.
Well, I went for it. I threw my hands up, jumped into the air, and threw myself backwards anticipating the best (and only) back handspring I’d ever done. And just as quickly as the thought came to me, it vanished as I was abruptly jolted by my harness.
You see, I didn’t do the flip and land on my butt or something normal like that. Heck, I didn’t even land! As I opened my eyes, I saw the ceiling of the gym and realized, I was uncomfortably floating. There I was, suspended in mid-air with my legs and feet dangling – and the entire class watching. Worse, in order to get down, I had to flip myself either all the way over or back to my original position, which meant grabbing at the ropes that were holding me up. Suffice to say, it was definitely not one of the most graceful moments in my life.
I left that class feeling defeated, embarrassed, and like I wanted to give up. Everyone is better than me in this class. I thought to myself. I’m okay being in the middle if I can’t be at the top, but I definitely do not want to be on the bottom.
I got into my car that night and just sat there for a minute. For the first time, in a long time, I realized something more clearly about myself than I had in the past. I like a challenge, but only when calculated risk tells me I’ll end up at the top or in the middle. If there’s a chance I’ll “fail” in some way, I feel the urge to run.
And boy did I feel the urge to run that night.
But if I ran, what would that say about me? And worse, what would that do to my solid belief that you finish what you start?
So many questions went through my mind on that drive home and I didn’t know what I’d do. After some serious thought, I decided quitting wasn’t an option. This was something I loved and wanted to do. It was building strength, health, and determination in me and I wasn’t about to throw that away because of an embarrassing moment.
I’ve gone to a couple more gymnastics classes since then and have not only seen progress, but I’ve also had a great experience – one I would’ve missed out on had I given up so easily.
My desire to get back into gymnastics began as a way for me to get fit and healthy. While that initial goal hasn’t changed, my perspective has. Even at 25, gymnastics is still teaching me to conquer a challenge and to not give up when things get tough.
And each time I learn a new skill, make a new friend, or step out of my comfort zone, I’m reminded that even if “failure” is possible, it costs us so much more when we don’t even try.
Try something new, reader – you might just surprise yourself.
P.s. To follow more of my gymnastics journey (and other wild experiences), join me on Instagram! See you there, friend. 🙂