Learning to Fall

The other day I decided to enjoy one of the last days of summer-like weather by trying out my new rollerblades, but I forgot how fast new wheels spin. I soon found myself speeding down a hill that I had not traversed for almost two years, after my last journey ended with a cracked rib; it was quite the trip. After recovering my brain from the PTSD-induced flashbacks, I began to review the lessons I had learned about falling correctly*. Yes, there is a correct way to fall; it’s the way that doesn’t end with a broken body, or at least a less broken one. Most of the sports I have participated in over the years have included lessons on falling. In rugby, we spent a week learning how to fall before we learned how to make our opponents fall. Fortunately, I did not need to utilize these lessons that day, but it got me thinking about how those lessons can be applied to more metaphorical - albeit not necessary less painful - falls in life. With no further ado, here are the lessons and my attempts to tie them to everyday life:


    Owen in Flight by ClickFlashPhotos

  • Fall correctly and you’ll survive to get up and try again.
    When you do screw up in life, try to do it with grace – don’t take others down with you; don’t be so reckless you can’t recover from your actions. The slight difference between falling and failing (besides the letter ‘i’) is that a fall only becomes a fail if you don’t get back up.
  • Don’t be afraid to fall…
    If you try to never fall, you’ll only hurt yourself worse when you do. It’s like slipping on ice and flailing your arms wildly, only to end up with both pulled arm muscles and a sore bum, because despite your efforts you fell anyway. Every fall is a learning opportunity.
  • …but don’t be taking nose dives and wonder why your face hurts.
    By accepting that a fall could happen, you can prepare for it and lessen your damage. Put salt on that ice patch to stop slippage in the first place…and don’t go rollerblading after it rains, or at least where protective gear - falling doesn’t have to hurt.
  • Laughter is the best medicine (I hear morphine is pretty good too).
    When you do fall, remember to laugh at yourself. Afterall, falls are funny; if they weren’t, America’s Funniest Home Videos would have tanked. Don’t waste your time dwelling on your mistakes.

*If you were wondering what literally falling correctly entails, it is progressively hitting the ground from your ankles to your knees to your hips to your shoulders. It works a lot better than hitting the ground at once, with a thud and the wind knocked out of you. Also, NEVER try to catch yourself with your hands, that only leads to broken wrists; tuck in your arms – and you head for that matter – if you feel yourself falling.

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