One of my favourite things about working with kids is their resiliency. They bounce back like rubber after falling down - both during a physical and mental challenge. Part of my job as an outdoor educator is helping to build more resiliency in youth, but most of the time it’s just drawing out what’s already there. I’ve always admired how quickly kids can get back up after falling.
This year, I’m learning to fall like a kid. To hit the ground hard and bounce right back. I want to throw myself fully into whatever I’m doing without fear of falling. I want to commit to the moment without hesitation or reservations.
I think about this a lot when I’m out on the trail. I’ve always had to move my body differently because of the shape I am. My steps are sometimes shorter, and they’re always heavier than my hiking partners. Going up or down big steps and ledges is scary and difficult - I struggle to push myself up when my legs are bent at a 90 degree angle, and the same goes when I have to lower myself down. More often than not, I find myself on my hands and knees trying to keep myself and my pack balanced. I experience a flash of fear when my feet slip, terrified of falling down the trail.
As I get out on the trail now, I want to hike without that fear. Obviously I can’t just snap my fingers and will my fear to go away, but I’m working on building my resiliency again - just like when I was a kid. It’s time to take some big steps when I’m hiking. And even if I’m scared of falling, I’ll know that I can just bounce right back. Like rubber. Like a kid. It’s time to learn to fall again.