I've been a lurker for a little while here, but the more I've been reading, the more I've wanted to go ahead and post this (and I think this is the right forum, but please do correct me if I'm wrong). All around these boards, I see a lot of discussions of and by people who aren't sure "to skate or not to skate". Do what you have to, of course, but if you can, for heaven's sake, don't give it up if you love it.
You see, I grew up watching and adoring figure skaters. I was a very little girl when I sat open-mouthed in front of the TV watching the old skating specials during the mid-to-late '90s. I knew who all of them were, had my favorites, all of that, and some of my earliest memories are watching those shows and thinking how wonderful it must be to skate. I remember being in awe of the mens' grand jumps and having that little-girl heroine-worship of the "ice princesses" in ladies', but it was always the pairs and ice dancers who really struck me as something special.
I'm 20 now, and I set foot on ice for the first time about a month or two ago. This is the first time that I have had the money, the time, and the courage all at the same time. I'm no prodigy, but I'm picking it up slowly but surely. But I'm a college student with two majors and two jobs- I can't afford (money or time-wise) to spend much time skating except during the summer. And because I figured out how much I love this 15 years too late, I'll never get to try the disciplines (either of the pairs disciplines) I've always loved the best (because let's face it, I see a handful of women at my rink just picking up skating, but any men remotely close to my age either are already high-level competitors or never going to skate at all). And that's a very bitter realization.
I guess what I'm trying to say is how much I admire all of you on here who got to skate young and are now picking it up again, and to say to the younger members not to give up on what you love, because getting to the ripe old age of 20 and feeling regrets is not very much fun. Be brave, be amazing.