SKATE OR DIE.... I DECIDED TO SKATE
In 2015 I moved to the UK. Long story short, my children moved to Devon in the UK with their mum so I followed to be with them. When my ex-wife and I decided to separate we agreed we'd move to the UK so she could be with her family. Whilst the decision to be wherever my boys reside was an easy one, the decision to reset my life on the other side of the world was huge, and the impact on me was even bigger. For many people making a decision to change jobs or career is just as big; life changing in many cases. As a recruiter I saw this daily and as a recruitment business owner I enjoy seeing my staff help people make these important decisions on a regular basis. Too often however, people don't make the right decision for themselves as a result of fear of the unknown. I guess this is human nature but I don't live like that, I'd rather know that at least I tried.
This brings me to my youngest boy Ben and his new found passion for skateboarding. Ben is turning 9 in January and he's so excited to have something in common with his dad's childhood. A few weeks ago his mum bought him a penny board. He phoned me that afternoon, "Dad, can you come over and teach me how to Ollie?" To the uninitiated, an Ollie is a skateboard term for jump, so I drove over immediately to spend a few hours reliving my childhood....
Rewind 28 years, when trump was a word to describe a bad smell, (actually not much has changed). Little Tommy had a Tony Hawk board and loved skating Ringwood and Knox skate parks in Melbourne. I wasn't a great ramp skater, as I found out the hard way trying to drop in on Prahran half pipe... never again!
I loved going fast, pushing the limits and definitely thought I was cool. I wasn't the best skater but certainly wasn't the worst so when my son Ben rang me 28 years later a spark ignited, my inner child bursting out to have fun. Then the adult in me, that little man in my head frantically searching the dusty filing cabinets for the skater manuals... those instructions I've stored all those years ago, how to skate without killing yourself, how to look cool on a board without breaking a bone.
By the time I got to Ben I was like a kid again, already claiming the title of the coolest dad at school, until it happened... I tried to get on the board, yep, just standing on it was a challenge. Then it hit me, the little man in my head stood there covering his eyes, pointing at the fine print on the manual... "must have coordination". The little bloke in my head walked away into the darkness of my brain, shaking his head, tutting with disgust. Unfortunately the face on Ben wasn't too dissimilar, apart from the occasional chuckle.
A few weeks have passed and today I realised after a few sessions with Ben, how ace it could be if we skated well together. Ben and I went to our local skate shop "The boarding house, Exeter" to buy myself a board, do it properly. So there I was, determined to rediscover that level of coordination to at least stay on the board, Ollie at least over a curb and who knows, maybe a kick flip or grind! The smile Ben literally wore for the whole afternoon was enough for me. No broken bone could cloud that level of happiness.
So this brings me to you, why are you afraid of change? Why can't we all just do what we genuinely want to do? Whether it be for ourselves or for the ones we love, why can't we overcome those fears or put the potential consequences aside, just do it? You know what, we can, there's nothing stopping us doing what we want to do. I see people change jobs every day, some change careers. It's one of the biggest decisions we all face in life and some of us never take the plunge as it's simply just too daunting. This is why at Aptus I've always insisted we respect how big your decision may be and our role in this is very important. Don't go on wondering what could've happened, whether it be a career move or a personal challenge, if you want it, go for it. I admit, skating after 28 years wasn't easy and I'm still very scared of falling but what I'm proud of is the ability to just do it without worrying what might happen. Life is too short, be that kid again.
Think about that saying "Skate or die". As a kid I thought it was just a cool saying, a tough statement usually written across a skull or snake wrapped around a dagger. I now get it. It means skate or die, try your best or fail, live life or just exist... I like that saying more than ever and It wasn't until I turned 41 I realised the true meaning. So the next time you are faced with a decision that you believe could provide what you want, what will you do? Will you skate or die?