April Jeppson: Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself a bit

Published 8:45 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

When you live in Minnesota, you learn how to enjoy the outdoors even when it’s cold. I shouldn’t even say you learn it, because it’s just a way of life. Snowmobiling, ice skating, snow shoeing, sledding, skiing, making snow angels, snow forts and snowmen. There are so many activities to do in the winter.

April Jeppson

Over break I took my kids ice skating a few times. Growing up in a town of 400, skating at the outdoor rink was a regular occurrence in the winter. I was never great at it, but there is something nice about the cold breeze on your cheeks and nose and your gliding across the ice. Well, until I fall. I feel like I have a pretty steady fall pattern of three times whenever I skate. When you’re a kid, it’s OK to fall. You don’t weigh that much, you’re not terribly tall, so you’re not falling very far, and your joints don’t hurt when you move. Landing on your butt as an adult is a completely different story.

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The last time I skated, I went up to Owatonna for a youth group trip. I know I fell down the regulatory three times even though I used a hockey stick to help with balance. By the end of the night I distinctly remember telling myself that I need to do this more often. That was three years ago.

Flash forward to this week. The first day we went, there were so many kids skating that I thought I’d fall on one of them, so I didn’t even bother renting skates. I know I’m not a great skater and with the amount of children on the ice, it was just a matter of time before I took out a few of them on my way down.

My children barely ice skate. They occasionally will go on a field trip, but we don’t own ice skates and we are not a hockey family, so it just hasn’t happened. They skate by holding the edge of the wall or by using one of the ice walkers. So when I joined them on day two, they were about lined up with my skill level. We all held our walkers and tried our best. By the end of the session I could tell I was getting better and starting to trust myself more. My youngest daughter was the bravest of the group and started to skate solo, and it really motivated me to watch her.

By the time we hit the ice a third time, I, and my kids, were excited. I had a goal for myself. I was going to skate without holding on to anything. I tell you what, I did it. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty, but I really don’t care. At 40 I was able to relearn how to ice skate. I was able to show my kids a fun activity that I believe everyone who lives in the cold should experience.

This whole experience gave me a confidence boost. As I’ve gotten older, I can tell that I have gotten a little set in my ways. It’s easier to do things that we are good at, versus challenge ourselves to learn a new skill or revisit an activity that we struggled with. I’m excited to challenge myself a bit this year. At the end of the day, even if I fail or fall, I may be bruised, but I can always get back up and try again.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.