When I was a child, I got a buzz out of taking a risk and found pleasure in celebrating my achievements.
I’d think nothing of challenging a friend to jump a dyke that looked too big to get across. My friend would be like “we can’t get across this!”, But I wasn’t taking the long route round, so jump the dyke it was 😊
We’d take as much of a run up as the ploughed field would allow and go for it. Most of the time we made it, sometimes we got a wet foot! The thing is, if I went home lathered up in mud and squalor, I was in for it. But it was worth the risk.
There was loads of things me and my friends would get up to as kids. I remember the feeling of standing at the bottom of a big tree. “Come on help me up, I’m off to the top!”. My friend and me was often with some boys from school and if they could do it, so was I. Getting to the top was a breeze and it was so worth it for the view. I got sap and grub on my hands and bits in my eyes, but you must go through a bit of discomfort to get to where you want, don’t you? and I was going up!
Then it was time to get down. “Crap, that is a really long way down”. You see when you’ve got your eye on the goal you look straight ahead and focus on the prize.
Looking down I experienced a whole other feeling. Now I can describe it as fear and anxiety, thoughts of not being able to get down from the top without hitting every branch on the way down.
I was stuck!
I remember feeling this wasn’t such a good idea. The anxiety I was experiencing was intense to almost make me cry. But I wasn’t doing that, besides it wouldn’t have helped. So, I took a deep breath and shouted, “I CAN’T GET DOWN”. The others were nearly down. “You get down the same way you went up dummy!” But I was frozen and stuck.
Like a night in shining armour one of the boys Paul (who has remained a good friend) came to my rescue, just take one branch at a time. Slowly, with Paul’s reassurance I got down. A sense of relief swept over me. Then as quick as that we were off running and playing again and on with the next adventure.
The next time we went up the tree the same feeling of anxiety and fear swept through me. But I’d been here before and remembered what I learned the first time. It got easier and easier. Getting down became just as exciting as getting up the tree after a while. It was always the most challenging part and I liked the sense of achievement it gave me to overcome my fear every time.
The life lesson this experience taught me was I could have stayed at the top of the tree and cried until the whole things was taken our of my hands and in the hands of someone else. Or I could ask for help and find a way to get where I needed to be. This way I was in still in control. I would also learn something new. People who have been where you want to go, have lots of tips and nuggets of advice that help you take a right move. Paul simply said, don’t stand on that branch it looks a bit weak! Great advice when you are 12 and in a big tree! So I took his advice and became aware of other branches that might not serve me well as I found a way down.
This sense of adventure and thrill has stayed with me. Those feelings that stop you in your tracks because you know that whatever you are going to do in order to get the outcome is going to feel uncomfortable. But you must keep your eyes and energy on the goal/prize.
When I was 17 I decided to do a bungee jump. This would require me to be strapped by my legs and falling from a great height before hitting the car park floor below. (If I was unlucky) Comments from my family and friends were “are you bluddy mad?” “Why would you do that?” “Have you got a death wish?”
No, of course I didn’t want to die! But my assessment of the risk was the worst that could happen was I got too afraid to jump and would have to tell my friends that I jibbed out. Ha, that wasn’t happening. If I say I’m going to do something I generally will once I’ve committed that’s it.
So standing at the top of the crane and looking round was like being at the top of the tree. I could see for miles. Then, I’m being strapped up and I say, “So hows this going to work then? How many people have died today? How far up are we? How long have you been doing all this?” And the questions kept coming until all that was left was, “When do I go?”. The steward said, “I’ll count 1-3 and on 3 you go. I knew there was no way he’d get to 3, if he did I might not go.
1 – 2 – weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
OMG, I felt like I was falling forever and then I flew back up in the air. When I got down I felt like I’d had a skinful. My legs were like jelly, my hair was a mess, my heart was racing and I was talking really fast! I was on a high and it lasted for days!
That was another off my bucket list!
A few years later I managed to do a tandem skydive. I cannot begin to tell you how exhilarating that was. So many feelings. If my children ever want to do one and need a buddy I am straight there!
Looking back all these experiences pushed me out of my comfort zone into a zone which can only be described by someone who has been there. Life should be more like this.
Don’t stay comfy people, it’s dull and lack lustre. Nothing much is achieved by staying there. 98% of people stay in there comfort zone.
I read a quote recently that said,
“You only live once, (followed with), wrong you only die once, you live every day”.
So, act like it and make the most of every day. Push yourself out of your comfy space. I promise you, you will like how it feels when you do! Be one of the 2%!