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Acrobatics with my ego

farmyard acrobatics

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 thought:

  • 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.