3 things I won’t be doing again 

Published 8:40 am Monday, October 3, 2016

I would classify myself as adventurous. I enjoy experiencing all this life has to offer. If I need a mental nudge to do something, I try to assure myself that, “I’ll have a funny story out of it,” and this is usually enough to push me over the edge.

Rarely has there been a time in my life that I’ve ruled out a second attempt at something.

Along with having an appetite for trying new things, I’m also a stickler for perfection and thus, this ultimately leads to multiple attempts at quenching this thirst. At this point in my short existence, I’ve put my foot down to a handful of activities that I’ll never attempt again. The reasoning behind my staunch disposition is varied, but ultimately one go-round with these activities is good enough for me.

Hockey players and figure skaters make ice skating look absurdly easy. The way skaters glide across the rink, as if taking a pleasant stroll on a chilly day, once made me want to see what this was all about. After watching movies depicting flawless skaters in Central Park or on frozen ponds in Alaska, I thought, “this won’t be that difficult.”

I was embarrassingly ill-prepared for just how absurdly difficult ice skating turns out to be.

As I took quarter steps on the carpet with my rental skates, slowly inching closer to the rink, I began to second guess my decision to undertake this experience. When I finally did make it out on the ice, I couldn’t get farther than one arm-length away from the wall. When I didn’t feel like I was about to break both ankles, I couldn’t stop flailing my arms to prevent myself from falling completely on my behind.

Seeing little Susie with her ‘Dora the Explorer’ skates blow by me only added salt to my open wound. How could it be this difficult? As I made my way safely back to the bench by the rental counter, I made up my mind then and there — I’ve tried it and I’m not an ice skater, period.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite days of the year. I look forward to enjoying amazing food and fellowship with family and friends. Add a parade and NFL game into the mix, it’s a downright perfect holiday. I’d been enjoying this day the way it was intended for many years, until one year I decided to accompany some family members partaking in ‘Black Friday’ shopping. I’ve never liked especially large crowds. I most certainly don’t like hostile, savings obsessed, stampede-like types of crowds. I ruined a perfectly wonderful holiday that year by dipping my toes into a savage tradition of getting to retail stores early and shopping like your hair is on fire. My thought is never again. I’ll buy early, I’ll buy late or I won’t buy at all, but I’m not participating in this cultural phenomenon again.

Any time you start a story with, “That one time in Mexico,” the outcome can always be shaky. This is exactly how the story started out when my aunt and I decided to try parasailing in Cancun. The ocean was crystal blue and the sand was warm and inviting. We could have been contented to enjoy those two attributes alone, but instead we wanted to be adventurous. We found where they take tourists parasailing and immediately signed up.

I should have been somewhat concerned when my signature was required on three separate pages. My aunt and I situated ourselves in what felt like a hardened plastic bench. As the boat traveled out a safe distance from shore, the parachute began to fill up with ocean air and pulled us up and away from the boat. At this time, I realized we had no seat belts, no harnesses and no life jackets.

As the line continued to stretch from the boat to our merely plastic two-seater, we finally realized we had made an insurmountable mistake. Five hundred feet up in the air and our balance was the only saving grace we could count on. Needless to say, we both never wanted so badly to plant our feet on solid shore.

I find great joy in trying new experiences. Finding out what challenges me, what comes easy and what downright scares me is all a part of living. I haven’t drawn a line in the sand on too many activities in my time, but the three I vividly remember most are snippets of me of trying new things, and then definitively deciding they’re just not for me. As long as I remain open minded, I will always be eager to attempt new things, and who knows, I might just get a good story out of it.

Freelance writer Jim Jackson graduated from the University of Kentucky and currently lives in Frankfort. He is also a contributing columnist to The State-Journal. You can reach him at jackson.m.jim@gmail.com.