Friday was a busy day for me–I was putting the finishing touches on my presentation for Full Bloom on Saturday and I had a pickleball game and lesson later on–a good, full day. Little did I know it would be a day that included public humiliation, blood, a tiny pickleball vigilante, and, against all odds, a triumphant return.
This is my story about resilience, strength, and sisterhood. And it all started when I spectacularly faceplanted in the middle of a pickleball court.
Picture this: a sunny afternoon, a private lesson with a top pickleball player (I’ve been waiting months for this!) showing me how to get a tough shot and suddenly there’s an unexpected tango with gravity. Let’s just say gravity won, and I found myself up close and personal with the court’s surface. Not my most glamorous moment, I must admit. A few minor injuries, a scraped-up face, skinned knees, and a bruised pride.
As I lay there, winded and fighting the urge to cry, I couldn’t help but marvel at the poetic injustice of it all. Here I was, just trying to do my best and giving it my all, and I ended up eating the pavement and a generous slice of humble pie instead.
They say “Fall seven times, stand up eight”. Well, this was my ‘stand up eight’ moment.
Those who saw me rushed to help, ready to patch up my wounded ego and my slightly more wounded face. And as they patched me up, I realized something profound – I was not made of glass, and a stumble was not going to break me. I steadied my breathing and joked about my gracefulness on the court. I decided not to cry.
Not only that, but I finished my lesson. The shocked expressions around me were priceless–I later got a text from a friend who had heard that I was a “trooper”.
Someone even asked if I still wanted to go out for dinner. My reply? “Sure, let’s go!” I was determined to stay the course.
Later at the restaurant, a young, wide-eyed girl kept casting glances my way. I get it, I looked pretty scary and while I wasn’t bleeding all over the place, I had very obvious bloody wounds on my forehead, nose, and above my lip. I went into the rest room and she followed me in.
Sensing her curiosity, I shared my story of the afternoon’s dramatic tumble. She nodded her 7-year-old head in a knowing way, explaining her story of sporting a black eye from a softball accident at her Pre-K graduation.
This little girl understood empathy and the Sisterhood–we tell our stories and we nod with each other, don’t we? It’s a coming alongside thing and we do that as women who care. I never thought of little girls having such capacity, but here I was being schooled by a kindergartner on ageism!
There was so much wisdom gleaned from this experience that I wanted to share the story and the lessons I learned:
- Bounce Back: Resilience isn’t a trait, it’s a decision. Life will knock you down, but you decide to get back up.
- Finish Your Race: In the face of adversity, see things through. A stumble isn’t a stop sign.
- Stay Tough, Stay Strong: Eat well, take your supplements, exercise, and lift weights. At 65, this fall proved my commitment to being healthy created a happier outcome. Strong bones and muscles aren’t just luck, they’re earned. I’m resilient physically, not fragile, and it’s my mission in life to make sure you are too! It is estimated that 60-70% of women over the age of 65 who fall down and break something, will never walk again!
- Don’t Stare – Share!: Turn awkward moments into opportunities for connection. The Sisterhood is everywhere, even in the innocent eyes of a 7-year-old following you into the restroom.
- Don’t Underestimate Someone Because of Age: Ageism goes both ways!
- Believe You’re A Badass: A badass doesn’t run away, she faces her fears. When she falls, she gets back on her horse. When she feels shaky, she calls on her inner strength expecting it to show up (and it does). You’re stronger, smarter, and way tougher than you think.
Falling isn’t failing. It’s a stumble, not the end of the world. It’s a test of your mettle and gives you an opportunity to exercise the resilience that’s inside you, waiting to come out.
Pickleball court or life, everyone falls. Everyone misses. Everyone wishes they could have done better. But…
If you quit, you’ll never know what kind of grit you have.
So…dust yourself off and get back in the game. Your VIBRANT life is calling!