Three Lessons Learned On Ice

Three Lessons Learned on Ice


The last time I went ice-skating I must have been 16 years old.  I never liked it, was never good at it.  I wasn’t eager to go when my boys asked me to take them on Saturday.


It was either that or watch them jump around at Sky Zone 45 minutes away, so I bit the bullet.  We drove down to Atlantic Station.  I got skates, put them on, and stumbled onto the ice.


It was awkward.  I knew it would be.  Then, a half-an-hour later I was surprised at how comfortable and happy I was.


I found myself enjoying ice-skating, actually having fun with my kids.  Yes, my toes hurt and the shoe cut into my ankle, and yes I lost my balance a lot.  But I was focused on the big thing that made me glad instead of the little things that made me mad and sad, so it didn’t matter.


I was grateful to be able to add ice skating to my list of things I like.  I was also paying attention to the process of going from “afraid to skate” to “loves to skate” in mere minutes. 


The experience taught me three things.


When I first went out on the ice, I saw that some of the children were pushing large plastic “walkers” so that they could move around safely on the ice.  I reasoned that these walkers didn’t really do much for them except give them something to hold on to.  I thought that if I imagined I had a walker it might help me feel more comfortable.


It worked.  Just by imagining the walker was in front of me, I found my balance much more easily.  Lesson one:  Sometimes if you imagine you have the help you need, that’s all the help you need.


I wasn’t satisfied just wobbling on the ice.  I looked around at the good skaters and I watched how they did it.  I made one important observation.


They only balanced on one skate at a time.  When they wanted to move, they would glide on one skate, then the other.  I had been trying to keep my balance over both skates.


Once I started balancing through a single skate, I found it much, much easier.  Balance through one skate, then the other, back and forth:  Easier to move, easier to balance.  Lesson two:  Balance is more useful than stability.


Finally I considered the unlikelihood of me just loving being on the ice.  When I was a kid I was miserable out there, terrified of falling, inept, no sense of my body.  This time I was excited, having fun, even exploring how to go backwards…not bad for an old man of 49.


Lesson three:  I have unforeseeable experiences of joy awaiting me in my life, not just sorrow and loss.


I’m not suggesting you go ice-skating.  You may however find these three lessons useful if you are afraid of starting something, if you worry about falling, or if you’ve come to the place in your life where you wonder if your good days are behind you.  I’m happy to say I learned what I needed from an afternoon at the rink, and I’m going back.



News From a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books

On Thanksgiving morning I did an interview which I hope will be released soon.  There are also two new articles this week.  

You can see these and others on my press tab.

Adam Cole is a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books.  Author, educator and performer, Adam chats weekly on the subject of listening, creativity and living your best life.  To take a quiz on what kind of music warrior you are, please visit

1 comment

  • Darcy


    I love this post! Kudos to you for getting out of your comfort zone and discovering joy in an unexpected place. :) Thanks for sharing!

    I love this post! Kudos to you for getting out of your comfort zone and discovering joy in an unexpected place. smile Thanks for sharing!

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