I stood on the edge of the mini cliffs where the waterfall cascaded into the natural pool below. ‘Only 25 feet’ might as well have been a mile for me. My hands started shaking, a knot was forming in my stomach, and the noise of the waterfall was drowned out by the sound of my heart pounding. Why was I standing on the edge of the waterfall? Shouldn’t I have listened to my instincts and steered clear of the slippery rocks? That’s just it, the pull towards the edge was stronger than the pull away, yet I was frozen there. It looked so thrilling, and never before had I had this opportunity. I didn’t know the next time I’d have the chance to jump from a waterfall (Even if it was ‘small’ it was still a waterfall). I knew I would regret it if I didn’t jump, I would wonder what it would’ve felt like to jump and push through all that fear. So there I was. “Don’t think about it! Just jump!” The ones who had jumped before me shouted enthusiastic words of encouragement. Easy for you to say, are your hands shaking? Was what I was thinking.
I hadn’t brought a swimsuit so my clothes would be wet, the other girls from my group weren’t jumping, the trail back up once I jumped seemed questionable, I’d never dived so far before, The rocks were slippery, I wasn’t the best swimmer, I should listen to my instincts, people probably died here before….! So many reasons to keep myself glued to the rocks.
I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. I just need to calm my breathing long enough. That moment was so quick yet such an eternity as I tried to breath slowly and pretend I wasn’t at risk of falling any moment. I took in a long breath as I opened my eyes. Don’t think too much. Just go. I exhaled and before I could listen to one more excuse- I let my hands push me away from the ground behind me. One quick movement. Really not much effort, but it was hard.
That second in the air was so liberating! So free! I heard a splash and felt the blue swallow me. I was filled with adrenaline as I effortlessly pushed back to the surface of the water. I did it! I ACTUALLY DID IT, and it was AMAZING! It was one ‘easy’ step off the rocks but yet that step had felt impossible- physically and mentally impossible. The only one holding me back was me, me and my long list of excuses. One step. ONE STEP is what was holding me back.
Every day of our lives we are faced with opportunities, however big or small. Getting up in the morning, starting a project, applying for a job, or just walking over to a stranger and saying ‘Hi.’ Have you noticed how just as the idea pops in your head so do a waterfall of excuses (See what I did there?) – reasons why it’s a bad idea?
Some may say, ‘Oh that’s easy!’. So it might be, but are your hands shaking? We all have our own challenges. For me, walking up to a stranger and saying hi isn’t that hard, but it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when it was probably the most terrifying thing. Fear, just like at the waterfall would cling to me and hold me back, making that one step the most terrifying task.
I have found however, that the more hard things I do, the easier it is the next time around. Not to mention having fewer regrets and enjoying life all the more! What’s the worst that can happen? Is it worse than constant regret? If every time you feel that pull of adventure, or that gut feeling that you’ve got to apply for that job, or talk to that person, you let the excuses in your head persuade you that it’s a bad idea, you’re saying that fear of the unknown has more control over you then what you want. You might feel called to do something great but a few doors close and suddenly it’s too hard. Do you still feel a call? Don’t tell yourself you don’t just because it’s hard!
As we push are limits, we’ll find ourselves doing things we thought impossible and so far out of reach before. Never say you can’t do something, or that it’s too hard, instead try. It’s okay to be scared of the unknown. Don’t feel ashamed and embarrassed because your hands are shaking. Sure, I felt a little ridiculous sitting at the edge of the cliff, when the other jumpers just dove right in, but I was going to do it. For them it might not have been a challenge but for me it was, and I wanted to do it even though before I would have thought it impossible! And do you know what? The next time I find myself with a similar challenge, my hands will shake just a little less, I’ll know it’s possible, because I’ve done it before.
Posting this blog? Also hard. Writing this post was the easy part. Actually putting it out there? Taking that step and clicking publish? That’s a little harder, but I know that publishing a blog is one of those things on my bucket list. So here I am, posting my imperfect blog, as an imperfect person who is learning and growing and willing to step out of my comfort zone to live the life I’ve imagined.
For me, I believe that if something is hard, that should be an incentive. If it’s a challenge it means I’ll learn even if I fall flat on my face, get a little hurt, or embarrass myself. At least I’ll know that I tried. God gave us one life, and we don’t know how many days he’s given us, so why are we wasting time on things that don’t matter? Filling our days with distractions like social media, movies, television, mundane tasks, little stresses and routines that make us forget the things that we wanted to do with our lives? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good movie and alike, but everything in moderation. What is on your bucket list? What kind of person do you want to be? Is the path you are on right now going to lead you to your next goal? Or are you letting the excuses in your head win, and letting the mundane distract you from who you want to be?
Live the life you want to live, and be willing to take one step, because that one step could change your life.