Deciding to Jump Even Though it Terrifies You

Summer of 2016 in Sedro Wooley, Washington.

Here, I stand or sit depending on just how terrified I am. A ledge, a moment, and a decision. I know I’ve jumped before. It took me over 21 years to be able to jump into water. The simple yet terrifying decision to trust that the air will carry you until the water catches you is captivating. My first time jumping into water was off of a giant waterfall in Hawaii(age 22) after watching my friend, JC, jump again and again. It took him jumping into the water for at least what felt like a dozen times in order for me to finally step onto the ledge. The dreaded ledge, the place that for years created a sense of indecision and fear for me. Watching someone else leap again and again only to be caught by the water gave me a sense of ease. I finally jumped in and screamed, “I let go!”. I jumped off of a waterfall ledge, was carried by the air, and into the water where I swam safely to shore with ecstatic laughter. Just what did I think was letting go of that day? I suppose it was fear. However, I realized over time that one jump does not take all of the fear away. Not whatsoever. In fact, it’s been 5 years since that first jump. I have taken dozens since and each has its challenges and great rewards. For some, jumping may seem easier than for others. For me however, the more time that has lapsed between jumps, the more indecision that takes over. This indecision feels almost like a spell, my bodies freezes and I feel I am unable to move. Once I break through that indecision, I find that I am indeed able to jump and the more I jump, the easier it becomes. There is still fear in each jump but less indecision. These moments before jumping into the water remind me of other moments in my life. The moments when I am at a crossroads. The moments when a life decision appears and I realize that I am on that ledge. When life asks me, which way will you go? I could stay on the ledge captivated by fear and indecision and sometimes I do until I realize that the very inaction of indecision literally depletes me more than if I were to go the “wrong way”. What I’ve learned from my lessons in jumping is that this action can look differently every time. Not every life decision looks like jumping at first. In fact, sometimes jumping is walking away from a person, job, place, or habit. Most times jumping feels like the hardest choice there is but those choices are the ones that will help you grow.