Over the past 14+ years of pushing wood around different cities, I've noticed a trend within my own skating that I really hate. After talking to other skaters, I've found that most people have experienced the presence/return of it as well. I'm of course talking about what I and others call "The Fear" in skateboarding.
If you're unclear about what I'm referring to, it's the feeling you get when you roll up to a new or old spot and reach the edge of the obstacle. This could be the top of a gap, a stair set, a rail, or anything else that challenges your idea of what's possible for you.
As I've grown older and the amount of time I get to skate during the week dwindles randomly and grows back again, I see time and again THE FEAR surfacing. Where once I was able to roll up to a ten stair and throw myself down it with ease, I now find myself with this off and on feeling of trust/distrust in my own abilities.
It's something I imagine all skaters who grow older and gain responsibilities in life have to deal with. It really sucks though, because you still have the muscle memory there to do what you're trying to achieve, but your mind reverts back to THE FEAR and can sometimes cause you to get hurt from being unsure on a gap you used to fly down with no thought.
I'm not really sure what the point of this article is other than to state for you young skaters out there that, yes, the time will come when you no longer have the braveness (or ignorance?) you once had for flying down huge things. Additionally, I post this to tell all of you older skaters that, yes, it happens to all of us. THE FEAR is a very real thing and although it sucks, it's natural. The only prescription? Consistently always be skating huge things until your body disintegrates.
Or, just turn into Neal Unger, which is also a pretty good choice and personally, my ultimate goal.