In Part Three of this series I talked about how I met and married my wife during my skating life. I also touched on working the Management side of the business.
In this part of the series, I am going to talk about changes. Changes in health, family, and priorities.
So, just what do you do when life starts sending you signals that indicate you need to start considering making changes in your lifestyle. What are those signals, when do you need to change, and why?
For me the signals were subtle at first. I started feeling pain in my legs and back when I spent long periods of time on my feet. Over time these pains became more significant. Eventually, I found out the cause for most of the discomfort was from Arthritis in my back, my hands, and other joints throughout my body. Finally, it just became too difficult to be on my feet continuously. Since my primary job was about 90% desk work, you can probably guess what part of my life needed to change.
Since the majority of time working at the rink involved standing on my feet, that meant I needed to start looking at my options there. While considering my options I found out that there were other health issues that required attention as well. I won’t go into the specifics, suffice it to say, they were long term issues that could not be ignored.
After spending decades working at the rink, I needed to back off. This proved much harder to do than I anticipated. The rink was a significant part of my life, and it was hard to think about giving it up. I struggled with the thought for a very long time, but then one day I decided enough was enough with the pain. I had to make changes. So, I did the only thing that seemed like a viable solution to the pain. I gave up my management position at the rink.
This change took a lot out of me. It was like having the rug pulled out from under me. After all, I had spent a significant part of my life at the rink, and it had become an integral part of who I was. I stayed away for a few months, but I just couldn’t give it all up. I felt empty, not having all the young people around me all the time. Sure, there were times when they were around that a couple of them would get on my nerves and create a bit of stress. But 95% of them made me feel happy and alive. I missed that!
One day, I decided to go visit the rink. It was a Friday night and it was wild and crazy in there. This was the session that was primarily junior and high school aged kids, so there was a lot of energy confined with those four walls of the rink. We had always tried to have extra staff available on Fridays for that very reason. A form of security, or at least crowd control that made things manageable. I decided that Friday nights might be a way I could get involved again, so I started returning every week and helping out where I could. I soon realized that my separation anxiety was reduced, and I could get along with my life with this bit of excitement added back to it. It gave me that place back where I could forget about everyday issues and just be myself, enjoying my time at the rink.
I continued to do Friday nights at the rink for a long time, but eventually, all the pain reared its ugly head again and I finally had to give it up for good. I would still go back and visit occasionally, but things were never the same again. I still felt like something was missing.
Time passed, but finally one day Roller Derby came to the rink, and eventually into my life. This will be the topic of the next part of this series. A part I look forward to telling, and a part I am thoroughly enjoying!
And so, until the next time ….