Fiona and I recently completed a series of indoor introductory parkour classes at the local school. Fiona has spent most of the past few years tackling new physical challenges. My experience with physical challenge has been much more mundane for many years. I’ve challenged myself to endure, but I am a big chicken with new physical skills. This was fun for us to do together and Fiona learned a few cool tricks too, but I was the one who really had to expand my comfort zone.
Fiona’s biggest challenge was to not point her toes every time she was airborne, little gymnast-dancer that she is. For me, though, there was at least one new skill every week that I found it really scary to try, whether it was kipping off an upper bar while pivoting around an arm on a lower bar, or dive rolls over the vault-horse, or cat leaps from bar to bar, or leaps into giant swings on angled bars. But I managed to achieve almost everything, and to persuade my body and my mind after a few repetitions that fear was no longer necessary. It was really cool to be reminded that my aging body can learn new tricks, and how near at hand potential accomplishments are.
Mostly I developed a renewed appreciation for what kids do day in and day out: put themselves out there, just beyond their comfort zones, in unfamiliar situations with expectations that they don’t yet understand, and just dig in and learn.
We’ll both continue with parkour classes if they’re offered again somewhere.