Skip to main content

Tripping us up: mistakes that knock us around, but not down.

Not so smart

You know how I love to rollerblade, right? Possibly more than running. I’m wondering if there’s a rollerblading marathon, because while I’m up to easily running 8 miles, I can’t imagine making it through 26.2. I can, however, see myself doing it on my blades, no problem.

But there’s this ‘thing’ that happens to me most every morning that I skate. And I’m just fascinated by what it all means. I’ll be skating along thinking about stuff, when I’ll ‘trip’. I don’t fall, I catch myself, but it scares the shit out of me. No big deal, right? It’s bound to happen, what with all the sticks and stones scattered in my path. But, I’m convinced that it’s karmic…or something.

Because I usually trip after having a particular sort of thought. Like a disparaging one about myself or a ‘not nice’ one about someone else. Or about an idea that might not serve me very well. Or one that I’m not paying nearly enough attention to.

You see, it feels like ‘something else’ is making me trip. Some force greater than me. Is it my fairy godmother? The guy with the falcon? My conscience? Or would that be my subconscious?

All I know is that it’s so deliberate (not to mention sequential and orderly, ie. thought —> trip), that I’ve now taken to exclaiming, ‘Okay! I got it! For god’s sake!’ after it happens.

Before the fall

I used to rollerblade with only a helmet and wrist/hand guards for protection. My reasoning was that I only need my head and my hands to write (which equals work). And while breaking a leg or shattering a knee cap would be damn inconvenient, it wouldn’t actually destroy me.

And so

One freezing cold morning a few days after this past Christmas, just before dawn – I got a nice big dose of, ‘maybe that wasn’t the best reasoning’. In other words, I fell. Hard.

And it hurt…and my left knee was in bad shape. And while my head and hands still worked, I couldn’t run or rollerblade or bike for a bit, I could hardly walk. And I don’t really do so well when I can’t start my day off with a good sweat.

Much smarter

I immediately learned my lesson. The right knee got all gussied up in a knee-pad the very next time I got on my blades. And I concentrated on my plan of throwing myself in that direction if I fell again – until my left knee had healed enough for me to put its knee-pad on. (It took a good month and luckily I didn’t fall in the interim.)

But still…

I make work mistakes. I’ve underbid, I publish and then find typos, I’ve forgotten to change names in contracts. These things happen to the best of us (particularly when we’re moving very, very fast and multi-tasking on steroids, cough, cough). And they bug me.  A lot.

I also make life mistakes. I’ve hurt people that I love. I’ve let fear win. I’ve made bad choices. I’ve ignored my heart and disregarded my gut. These things also happen to the best of us. And they also bug me. A lot.

Feeling it everywhere

This morning, I was on my rollerblades, zooming along, perfectly happy…when all of a sudden I remembered, out of the blue, a mistake I made a couple of months ago. Instantly, I’m filled with self-revulsion and what I can only imagine is shame. I start whipping myself as I relive the gaff in my mind and body. It’s a very physical experience, akin to ice water filled with tiny needles running through my body, my chest in particular for some reason.

And then, like clockwork, my left skate hits something (allegedly) and I flail for a few moments. Enough to get me to pay attention. To the fact that, ‘IT’S OVER’ and time to move on. To the fact that if I had fallen, I’d be okay because I’m now fully padded. To the fact that the fact that I’m fully padded means I’m capable of learning my lessons and NOT repeating them. To the fact that it’s time to move ON. To the fact that something wonderful’s taking care of me – that falcon dude, or some goddess…

Or more likely, it’s just me. Laden with forgiveness and determined to walk right to that edge, but never fall all the way down.

Image credit: NikoKunze

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Dan Goodwin says:

    Julie, this is a great reminder.

    It makes me think of a book called The Inner Game Of Tennis, which is all about flow. The author holds the theory that we already know within us how to play tennis, or skate, or write, or love, at our best. What stops us is not anything external, but something in is, we somehow conspire to get in the way of ourselves, or to trip ourselves up, using your words.

    So we need to learn not how to do things better, we already know how to at some deep level. We have in us all we’ll ever need to do anything we want. We need to learn how to let ourselves be at our best. How to let ourselves fully flow. To stop tripping ourselves up.

    Having said that, of course we will always continue to make mistakes, however painful (physically, emotionally, or otherwise) they may be. As long as we try to learn from them, and do better next time, is there any other way?

    Thanks for the post,

    .-= Dan Goodwin´s last blog ..Inspiration Is Everything. Please Give Thanks To Yours =-.

  • ami says:

    Wow – your life physically manifests your internal environment. That’s cool, unsettling and mind-blowing. But the bottom line is you learn, you move on, you improve. Good lesson for all of us, even those of us who don’t experience our psychic disconnects in a tangible manner :)
    .-= ami´s last blog ..Channel your outrage or transform it but don’t let it consume you =-.

  • Edgy Mama says:

    Good for you for paying attention. And for learning from your mistakes without letting them take you down.

    I was thinking this morning that I need some better padding in the form of some weight-lifting gloves after I popped a callus that developed into a blister after pushing myself too hard during a workout. Now that’s taking on a whole new level of meaning for me.
    .-= Edgy Mama´s last blog ..Female elected officials follow Michelle Obama’s lead =-.

  • Todd Jordan says:

    Tripping up over the past is all too easy. I find myself mulling over recent and long swept away faults or errors. What I try to focus on to get through this is how I can do better, most consistently, and with a better attitude. I find how I approach things makes dealing with them easier and less prone to mistakes.

    .-= Todd Jordan´s last blog ..Branding Happens =-.

  • Laurie says:

    Your posts make me cry a little (a good thing) …..I think because you make me feel not alone. That I’m not the only one still learning to live as a good human being. My (yours too I can tell) standards are high. So high that I’ll probably spend my entire (hopefully long) life continuing to learn it (a good thing).

    Bummer, Comment Luv not working for me? Hmmm have new laptop …maybe some disconnect. Too bad cuz last post is riveting–about poet Hart Crane :-)

    • Julie Roads says:

      Hey Laurie, sometimes your comments make me cry. Nope, not alone.

      Hmmm…on comment luv…give us the link in another comment?

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    It doesn’t matter what the mistake was from a few months ago. Be the woman you want to be now and for the rest of your life. Yesterday only matters because it shapes you and teaches you lessons, but it doesn’t make you. Release. The. Shame. And. Guilt. Those who love you know that you are worth more.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Happy Memorial Day! =-.

  • Lindsey says:

    This rings so many bells. I trip on many of my runs and have occasionally totally wiped out. I’ve never thought about what it might be that was tripping me up (beyond my clumsy feet).
    Thanks! Very thought provoking.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Lindsey, you know you just signed yourself up for a run with me when we meet in the City in September, right? And if you fall, just launch yourself in my direction, I’ve been told I make a good cushion.

  • Cari Noga says:

    Hey Julie – There IS a rollerblade marathon, in Duluth, MN. Sept. 11 this year. I did it years ago – it’s a great course, town and time. It was almost downhill when I did it – the winner beat the MC to the finish line! Bring the pads and have fun.
    .-= Cari Noga´s last blog ..Just in time for summer… =-.

  • ije says:

    love this! can really relate to learning how to forgive myself and not keep hurting myself by reliving the past. thanks for sharing.

    i tried rollerblading YEARSSS ago & had a bad experience…messed up BOTH my knees. the way you write about it makes me curious to explore it again. hmmmm….

  • Sue Miley says:

    Hey Julie,
    Several years ago the President of the company I worked for made a mistake – I was sort of the messenger. I was so impressed with how he handled it and asked him how he was able to keep it all in perspective so well. He told me then and I have always remembered it — “When we make mistakes we need to think about it briefly to see what we can learn and do differently; then let it go. If you don’t let it go then not only did this single mistake impact our past but we are allowing it to also impact our future too.” For some reason that spoke to me and I don’t want my mistakes to have power over my future!

    Thanks for sharing your path!
    .-= Sue Miley´s last blog ..Graduates: If You Give Up on Your Career Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later =-.

  • Andi says:

    Great post! I am very self-deprecating as well, I hate making mistakes and they haunt me, it’s a Type-A perfectionist kind of thing and it’s annoying!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Eat Pray Love and Drink winners! =-.

Leave a Reply