Buying a Skateboard
by MW Cook
I saw a skateboard in Value Village today. It was pretty slick. I hopped on it and pushed myself around a bit. I can’t skate. Never really tried. But in that moment, I wanted it. I wanted it bad.
So the wheels in my head started turning as I desperately tried to stay upright. Should I buy it? I thought of all the other crazy things I’ve tried picking up over the years.
There’s that cool ocarina I got off the Internet. It may be one of the coolest instruments in the universe. I was going to learn to play it and wander around hillsides, stopping in at taverns and playing for my supper. Where is it now? In some drawer somewhere.
There’s that book I have that teaches you how to turn old T-shirts into usable clothes. I got a sewing machine and made a laundry bag and a couple sexy shirts for my wife. Where is it now? I actually am not sure.
And there’s that that pair of Rollerblades I was sure I would use to zip around Toronto, reducing my carbon footprint and tuning my body into that of a bronzed god. The skates are packed in a storage bin and my body is far too squishy to belong to any self-respecting god.
Wow. So it looks like I don’t complete the things I start. I looked down at the skateboard and prepared to toss it away.
I got a guitar when I was young. Kinda kept at it. I can still kinda play, too. Gives me joy.
I tried writing stuff when I was in Pakistan. Kept at it. Finished a few dozen poems, short stories and 1.99 novels now. It’s my thing.
Wanted to learn a second language. Aur abhi mujhe Urdu ati hai. Alhumduallah!
Whoa! I finish some stuff.
So when I look at the skateboard at my feet, I gotta ask myself only one question: “Will I be bound by precedent? Or will I strike out and try new things, fully aware that I don’t always finish them? Will I stay doing the things I’ve always done or will I stretch myself and evolve?”
In the spring, I’m gonna find me a skateboard. Maybe I’ll use it twice and never touch it again. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn how to use it. Maybe I’ll cruise around town on it. Maybe it’ll become a new, vibrant part of my life like Urdu and writing.
Better to waste some resources in the pursuit of new skills and experiences than to sit around doing the same thing over and over again.
So go out! Take a yoga class! Try barefoot jogging! Learn parkour! Try a LARP! Do something new and forget about whether you will keep doing it or not. You’ll be dead soon, after all. And it’s better to have a dozen unfinished experiences behind you than to have nothing at all.
I’ve been struggling a lot lately with what it is that makes the difference between the ocarina and the guitar. Why do I stick with one thing and not another. I think I’m finding out that for me it’s this: The amount I like a given activity / thing / pursuit needs to be enough to overcome how lazy I am. And it turns out, I’m really lazy.