I quit figure skating when I was 10 years old, and though I regretted having done so throughout middle school and high school, I never actually imagined that I would return to skating. The more time that passed, the more distant that former hobby of mine seemed. Still, when I found myself craving the comfort I had found in skating as a child now as a freshman in college, I decided it was worth picking it up again.
I texted my childhood coach, set up a lesson and found myself driving to the rink at 6 a.m., simultaneously nervous and thrilled. On my first day, I felt extremely out of place. I no longer remembered proper skating etiquette and had to drag myself onto the ice and force myself to skate a few warmup laps. Once I was in my lesson, my demeanor (and technique!) quickly improved. This set the tone for the rest of that summer: I took a lesson weekly, attended public sessions whenever I wasn’t working and grew to love skating as much as, if not more than, I had as a child.
It can be difficult to pick up a new hobby. At age 20, I’ve often found myself falling into the belief that I am too old to learn something new — as if to be 20 is to be ancient — and turning away from opportunities. Returning to figure skating was one of the few times I allowed myself this privilege; it’s something I wish I would do more often — and with more confidence.
People (myself included) often seem to think that it’s only worth putting time into something if it is going to have a glamorous payoff. To this end, I would love to pretend that my skating is elegant and dazzling to observers. But this is not the truth — and there should be merit in my abilities as they are. Practicing figure skating consistently and casually, as a way to relieve stress and enjoy myself, should be reason enough to continue doing so.
In short, I believe that we tend to hold ourselves back by striving for perfection (or something close to it). I want to encourage others to pick up new hobbies, especially during college: Studying can grow monotonous and hobbies can provide an opportunity to explore new experiences and deviate from one’s routine. Obviously I know that hobbies don’t serve the same purposes for all individuals. Still, I am very grateful that I have found a challenging and rewarding hobby in figure skating, and I highly encourage others to seek out hobbies for the same reasons.