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Does a Half-Second Handstand Count?


“There are 86,400 seconds in a day. It’s up to you to decide what to do with them.” — Jim Valvano

Every day, when I’m working on handstand, I’m striving for a longer hold. Occasionally, I kick up, find that sweet spot (standing on my hands, feet in the air, actually balancing and not falling) and hold for what feels like 10 seconds — but is probably more like five — and come out of the handstand because I can’t hold it any longer. And then there are the other occasions (which in all honesty are the majority of my handstands) where I kick up for maybe half a second, lose my balance and topple to the side. Not just once. Not twice. But over and over again.

This has been very discouraging for me. I’ve been working on handstand for seven years now. I know I can kick up and hold it — because I’ve done it — why can’t I do that every time? And because of those times when I’ve had longer holds, it makes the shorter ones seem insignificant, and causes me to wonder, “Does a half second handstand really matter?” I mean, I’m not going to tell people about these brief handstand moments, and I don’t feel excited about them, so do they really count?

Referring to the quote above, every single second counts. And every single second or half second that I spend on handstand brings me closer to holding for several seconds. Would I be where I am now in my handstand journey if I hadn’t spent the half and whole seconds working to get there? We spend so much time thinking about years, months, days, weeks, hours, and minutes, that it’s easy to lose appreciation for the half and whole seconds they’re comprised of.

As a matter of fact, this handstanding thing has made me much more aware of seconds and just how differently they can feel. Since I’ve been holding for a minute at the wall with my stopwatch, I am now very cognizant of what 30 seconds feels like as they tick by, and how a 60 second handstand feels (joyful) compared to 60 seconds of abs (tortuous). Truthfully, I feel like crying when the voice on my abs app says, “10 more seconds” after a particularly grueling set of crunches. Yet a few seconds of handstand feels euphoric.

So yes, even my millisecond handstands count. They count because I’m not wasting them. They count because I’m using them to move closer to a goal. They count because I’m now appreciating every single one of them.

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One my many half second handstand holds.

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