I love to swim, but I’ve never been the type to just jump in the water. Even as a kid, when everyone else was racing to the end of the dock to see who could hit the water first, I was the one lagging behind, going down the ladder step-by-step, allowing my body to adjust to the temperature of the water. Once in, you couldn’t pull me out, but getting me in – it was a process.
I handled life the same way. Never moving too fast, always studying the situation, weighing all the options, taking all the polls, waiting until I understood exactly what the temperature was before I committed. Even simple things like trips would take weeks of analyzing before I could come to a decision.
Then things changed. This year, we lost the ladder for the pool.
We have an above ground pool, with two methods of entry: the removable ladder and the jumping platform, which sees the most use. There aren’t any steps to the platform – you have to pull yourself up Tarzan-style. There I was in my bathing suit, dying for a swim and no ladder and a choice. Jump or go home. And I really, really wanted to swim.
So I jumped.
The water was an icy rush of adrenaline that left me gasping and laughing and feeling invigorated. I liked the feeling. I liked the abrupt shift of temperature and the shock of entry. It was just a jump into a pool (and a shallow one at that), but it was something of a revelation.
Then jumping became a habit. I took a trip and left the map behind. I took a chance and changed my style. I said yes to invitations I formerly would have turned down. I tried my hand at a new art form. I quit my job to follow a dream.
And along the way I learned that the only way to really live is to be willing to jump every once in a while.