My reading, and basking in the sunshine on a blanket on the lawn, was interrupted by the seven-year-old asking if I could do a handstand.
While I certainly could once do a handstand, it was when I was her age, and even then I wasn’t all that good. A couple of summers ago, I gave a cartwheel a go and sprained my foot. I couldn’t walk properly for three weeks.
So the seven-year-old offered to teach me.
- I’d most definitely make a fool of myself.
- Was I really going to think I could act like a child
- I’m too old
- Injury was inevitable
- There would be pain
- There was no chance of actually achieving a handstand
And that in life there are only results and excuses.
Was my ego so fragile that it couldn’t stand a little foolish fun? Do I really judge people for being able to play? Did I really consider myself weak because I’m just so incredible old? Could I perhaps risk an injury? Was I really likely to encounter pain other than embarrassment? And was achieving a perfect handstand the actual goal?
So, I tried, and failed. And kept trying and failing. Then I went to get my trainers because the grass was dry and prickly. On my return I tried some more and eventually the seven-year-old decided we could move from instruction on getting the legs up in the air to instruction on finishing nicely.
Then she decided that Grand-père needed to be shown the efforts of her teaching. And so could the painter.
I won the battle with my ego and did as I was told.