I grew up in China in a remote small town with very little resources. Children then did not have afterschool programs to attend or iPads and video games to keep them busy. We preoccupied ourselves with street games and anything we could creatively build or make from dirt and dust. Occasionally, we get a hold of a fairytale book and everybody will take turns reading it like sponges soaked in water, recreating the story and re-telling it in the most creative way possible. Times were simple then for children, unaware of the great possibilities life could offer such as dancing, playing the piano, becoming a ballerina, or learning how to skate on ice.
Education brings these possibilities closer to one’s thought process. For me, it was in College when I learned about and took interest in ice skating. I had the chance to see the documentary film about ice skating and world champion/ Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming. I was drawn to her beauty and gracefulness—totally blown-away by her ice skating skills and prowess. She was so good, she appeared to me as a fairy on skates—flying freely and gracefully dancing on ice. At that moment, I knew I wanted to ice skate.
Two decades later—at 42 years old—in cosmopolitan Reno, Nevada, I heard the news that the city was building an ice skating rink downtown. Once completed, the facility would offer classes for parents and children living in the community. With this news, memories came rushing back to me and that interest to skate on ice like Page Fleming brought sparks in my head. I did not think twice to sign up. Sure, I am in my 40s but I felt excited and took on the challenge to learn how to skate.
After taking several classes, bruised knees, and countless falls, I can confidently say I am a good skater—enjoying my new skill and living my dream to be able to skate on ice. I still cannot jump and land as graceful as figure skaters do. Nor can I make those ridiculous spins and turns like professional skaters impress people with, but that is okay with me. The important lessons that I could impart to anyone is this: chase your goals and learn new skills. Live your life without regrets and enjoy it to the fullest.