I bet you are sitting at your computer or phone going, “So, big deal… my daughter (insert other person here) can do them all the time.”
Think back over 20 years ago. Maybe longer if my memory serves me right but in any case, it was forever ago. I took gymnastics as a kid and could do cartwheel after cartwheel, back flips, front flips, balance beam and nothing ever scared me… do you hear me… NOTHING. I was fearless. Heights didn’t bother me, carnival rides were the most amazing thing on earth and could climb a tree to the top and never worried about broken bones.
Fast forward to now. I look at a tree and wonder how much the medical cost will be if I fell (or my kids or nephew) out of that tree. What if a rail snapped on that rollercoaster? What if I fell off this tall tower?
What on earth happened to me?
When did my fearlessness turn into fear?
As I sat in a huge clover patch at the park yesterday with my sister-in-law, her son and my mother and father-in-law, I felt perfectly content. I watched as my nephew climbed the playground equipment with no fear, no worries about what would happen if he fell. I loved the way the sun felt on me as I watched him play with other fearless kids and then my sister-in-law said something that broke my train of thought.
“I want to do a cartwheel.”
I want you, as a reader, to keep in mind something. My “twin” (sister-in-law – we’re so close that we’re practically like twins) broke her arm about 3 or 4 years ago in a car accident. They had to place pins and screws in to rebuild it and after the operation they told her she should be able to bend it however her arm stuck at a 90 degree angle at her elbow for nearly 3 or 4 years. Doctor after doctor said there was nothing they could do for her, until last year she met a doctor who not only fixed her arm, but got it to the point of it being nearly straight.
I looked up at this girl, who was a little scared to do it herself and said, “If I do it, you do it.”
She smiled as her parents cheered her on. I stood up, tucked my shirt in and prepared myself. Hands to the ground, feet in the air, I did the best cartwheel I’ve done in ages. As I landed back on my feet again, I felt pains in my wrists and legs, but nothing broke. I smiled as I stood there staring at Twin to wait her turn.
She went to do it and stopped. “What if I hurt something?” she kept saying. I tried telling her the majority of the weight was on my wrists and she could do it.
After the second push, she stopped again. The cheering continued until she put her hands above her head and did it. She landed on her feet and smiled. He fear passed, she was able to do it and also nothing on her broke either.
I realized something as I tried to come up with a topic this morning. As we become adults, our priorities and fears change. Children don’t know fear until they hurt something or something breaks. As adults we worry about medical costs and what if I can’t work.
However, if there was something I learned yesterday is that sometimes, it’s okay to take small risks. It’s okay to do a cartwheel and enjoy yourself, relive your childhood and try to let your fears and anxiety about day to day tasks take over.
It’s okay to let go and be a kid every now and then.