Monday, November 29, 2010

Take the Plunge

Sometimes we just need a little push to do whatever it is that we've been dreaming of.  Whether it's a career change, a move to a new home, a lifestyle change, or even a new adventure, we can usually think of a hundred reasons why we can't do it for every one reason why we want to.  But none of those reasons matter as much as the fact that we want to do it (whatever it is).  If it's something that matters to us, nothing can really keep us from living the dream ... except ourselves.

This could be something simple like learning to crochet (not that crocheting is easy - I just find it easier to ask my mom to make stuff for me), or something life-altering like going (back) to school for a new career.  Either way, the fact remains: there is something that each of us wants to do, and we just might need a little push to actually do it.

Both personally and professionally, I've made a lot of changes this year.  Some were relatively easy, some were things I never thought I could do, and some I'm still working on.  The biggest changes (moving and changing careers) were long overdue; it was only after getting kicked while I was down that I was finally able to take those big steps.  What made it all so scary (and so exhilarating) was that it all happened together, with the vacation of a lifetime right in the middle of it all.

Before we left for our trip, I had quit my job and we had moved out of our apartment.  I hadn't started the new job or really settled into the new place yet, so this was exciting, empowering, and terrifying at the same time.  I had just taken such big leaps in my life, that the only thing to do next was to take an even bigger plunge.

I had thought about going skydiving ever since I first saw Point Break.  I loved the idea of jumping with a bunch of people, joining hands, and feeling that ultimate rush together.  I had even fantasized about jumping with the man I loved, and kissing him on the way down.  Of course, the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane was also crazy, and not something I could ever really do.  But then we started talking about actually doing it on this trip. We found the perfect place, and our friends and family even said they would jump with us (you've got to be much more experienced to do the hand-holding thing, but this was still a pretty big step).

As we got closer to the day, everyone else seemed to get more excited, but I got more scared.  That morning, part of me was hoping it would rain - then we couldn't do the jump, but it wouldn't be because I chickened out.  I was hoping the decision would be made for me, and I'd be saved.  My husband saw how scared I was, and reassured me that I didn't have to jump; I could still change my mind if I wanted to.  The thing was, I didn't want to change my mind.  After all, it was my idea to jump in the first place, and now five other people were going to do it.  I simply had to do it.  And I still wanted to ... well, mostly.

So here's the setup - as first-time jumpers, we were each assigned a tandem instructor who would do the real work.  The instructors prepared the chutes, hooked up our gear, and told us where to sit when we got in the plane.  Then they hooked us up - to them.  As we went further up in the air, all I could think about was how crazy this was.  I couldn't believe we were really doing it.  I told my mom and my husband that I loved them, and before I knew it, my mom was on her way down.  It happened so fast, I didn't even get to think about it. She was there, and then she wasn't.  And then it was my turn.

As "Big Jim" and I inched our way closer to the open door, I still couldn't believe what we were doing.  He was attached from behind, so I was pretty much going wherever he said.  And then he gave me a little push.

Once Jim convinced me to open my eyes, I could not believe what I was seeing and feeling.  I was not plunging to my death ... it honestly didn't even feel like I was falling.  I was floating in the air, looking down on the most beautiful view I'd ever seen.  I looked around and saw my mom with her chute on one side, and my husband with his chute on the other side.  This was such an amazing, incredible, life-affirming experience ... and we'd had it together.  We would never be the same after this moment.  Nothing could scare us after this.  There would be nothing that we could not do.

And all it took was a little push.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you all get out there and jump from a plane (though I highly recommend it).  I know, this is not for everyone.  This was my dream, and we made it come true, despite how crazy it seemed. What I am asking, though, is that you take a moment to think about the things - big and small - that you've always wanted to do.  Forget all the reasons why you think you can't do them.  If they matter to you, find a way ... make a plan, and take a step ... don't let anything stop you ... especially yourself.  Consider this your push.  

**If you like what you read, tell a friend!  Actually, tell me too - post a comment below!!  If not, well ... I'm all for honesty, but please be gentle!