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How Skateboarding Changed My Life

Anxiety? Canceled. Depression? Who's she?
POSTEDBYLILY LONGRIGG

I’ve never seen myself as someone who sticks with things, I used to have lots of interests but they’d often be over after five minutes. Learning to solve a Rubik’s cube, learning a language and even skateboarding all started off as things I thought I’d continue and while I did get so far with a couple of them, they did all end up falling off my radar. Language books sat in my room collecting dust and a cube with one solved face did the same. Even at age 10 my skateboard ended up piled under boxes in the garage. 

I’d learned to skate and had tried to stick with it a few times in childhood but didn't know anyone else with that interest and to be honest, I led a pretty isolated childhood. I wasn’t one of those kids that went out to play after school and didn’t really know anyone in my area so naturally, I had no real motives to continue learning to skate. 

However, all that changed in the year of 2018. I’d had a pretty hectic year of excessive partying and alcohol consumption (I was at uni, who could blame me!) and at some point realized those vices were the cause of my anxiety and low-level depression. I nipped that all in the bud and stopped going out and getting shitfaced and replaced it all with going to the gym and mindfulness. Then I went on a snowboarding holiday with some friends to Italy and that’s where everything changed. Although I only had a short run of snowboarding, I was hooked and I wanted to start skating.

As soon as I got back to London, I went to a skate shop with a friend where we bought our first skateboards (not including the ones I’d had as a kid). I remember it well, a Fracture complete, not great but it served me well and I made some great memories with it. 

I think because I’d had a total mindset shift and was regularly practicing mindfulness, I suddenly had a new lease of life and found myself taking my board everywhere I went. I never planned to do tricks and I just cruised around for the first year but come 2019, I was fully integrated in the London skate community. You could find me regularly skating on the street outside my house while my housemates cheered me on from the living room window as I tried to land my first ollie.

Skating gave me a confidence I’d never had - which actually makes a lot of sense. It forces you to face your fears and to trust yourself, something I think I’d never truly done before. I became less anxious, more outgoing, and felt I could conquer the world. I began rationalizing everyday occurrences with thoughts like “well I dropped in on that 6ft ramp yesterday so I can definitely turn up to this skatepark alone” or “I didn’t die on from that hill bomb so I won’t die from giving this uni presentation”. 

I skated to uni, I skated to work, and on my lunch breaks, days off, evenings, I even woke up at 7am so I could skate before uni/work. I really had this drive that I’d never had before and it’s still just as exhilarating as it was when I first started. I’ve even found this drive has echoed out into other areas of my life and find myself a lot more consistent with practicing other hobbies I enjoyed such as music production, sewing and graphic design. Skateboarding honestly made me learn to stick with things which is something I never even considered when I started, I just did it cos I loved it!

Thank you skateboarding, you changed my life.

skateboardingmental healthlifestylemindfulness
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