The first time I jumped off a high dive…
It was a hot summer day in the 70s, I was stretched out on a towel at our local pool, eating ice-cream, and watching my friends jump off the diving board. They seemed to have a lot of fun and I admired their boldness.
Then, one of them asked me to give it a try. “WHAT? ME? No way, I am afraid of heights!” A mixture of sheer panic and excitement took hold of me. “Should I do it? Would it hurt? I guess I could try?”
Reluctantly, I walked over to the ladder and started to climb. The metal bar was wobbly and my hands felt wet and slippery. I had a hard time breathing. My legs were about to give in and my stomach felt queasy. I didn’t dare to look down. My mouth was dry. Somehow, I managed to make it to the top. I was shaking. This did not feel safe! The ground was too far away. There was nothing to hold on to.
After catching my breath and finding my balance, I carefully stepped up to the ledge and peeked down. It was so high! I looked back at the rickety latter and I felt trapped.
I stood there, breathing hard. The diving board was slippery. I kept looking down, trying to find the courage in me to jump. Images flashed through my mind. What if I landed on my belly? Or on my back? Water would most certainly get up my nose. Had anybody ever died jumping off a high dive?
“Come on, it’ll be fun. Just jump. You’ll be fine.” My friends kept cheering me on. At some point, I just did it. I will never forget the sensation in my stomach and the rush I felt zipping through the air. It took my breath away. Within seconds, I hit the water and all was fine. It didn’t hurt and I did not drown. Instead, I felt excited, electrified. “Again,” I thought. “I want to do it again.”
There are times in life when you have to take the chance and jump.
Sometimes the decision is not yours and you are forced to take the leap. You lose your job, your relationship comes to an end, or your kids leave the house.
What about the times when there is no outside force pushing you over the edge? How do you know when it’s time to take the leap?
It’s a lot like standing on a high dive. The choice is yours. You can take off and jump, fully trusting that you’ll be fine. Or, you can take your time, weighing in the pros and cons and gathering your courage. Your third option is to turn around and climb back down the ladder.
Whatever you decide to do, there is no one right way, on the high dive or in life. Each decision has its value in time.
I have taken many risks, big and small, and this is what I know: it usually works out all right. Life gets better, things perk up, the path emerges. Waiting, I have learned, is often more painful.
What’s your experience with stepping into the unknown? Have you ever taken a risk? How did it play out? Please share with us in the comments below.
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