This is my year. This is the year I plan to take the BIG PLUNGE! This is the year that I take all the other things I have been doing with my life, the things that bring me joy, and see if I can make them my Real Life.
There is no guarantee that I can make this happen. It’s a huge risk. It is going to take one big giant leap of faith.
I remember when I was five years old and in order to be able to go to the swimming pool unattended by an adult, I needed to get my “Ducky Pass”. It was a freedom I wanted badly. A childhood want akin to pain. But to get my Ducky Pass, in addition to passing the swim classes, I had to go off the high dive. And when you are five years old, the high dive is Really Freakin High! The first time I tried, I lost my nerve. I had to climb down the ladder in shame. My swim teacher set down his clipboard with the unchecked box next to my name. “It’s okay,” he said kindly, “you can always try next year.” Next year! I didn’t want to wait until next year! I sat at the edge of the pool, trying to stifle the tears that wanted to come, and watched as all the older kids sailed off the high dive into that thin air with laughter and jokes. They didn’t even pause. Some of them swung from the rails and took it at a run. They were fearless. They were free. I sucked up my tiny, little five-year old pride and climbed that ladder again. All the way up.
There were jeers from the other kids in line. She’s going to lose her nerve. She’s going to be coming back down again. I walked to the end of that pale, green board. Curled my toes over the edge and stared down and the watery pattern of the pool bottom far below me. My little brain went, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I don’t know, I guess I could get hurt or die. My brain said, “Is that really the worst that could happen?” No. The worst that could happen is that I don’t try. I don’t try and so I never know what it’s like. And I never know whether I really could do it. My little brain nodded.
I closed my eyes. I plugged my nose. And I took that step into nothingness.
I got water up my nose. But I also got my Ducky Pass. I still have it, tucked away in a box with kindergarten art projects and my insect collection. A little patch with a yellow duck that proves I conquered my fear.
And so I stand with my toes on the brink again. And my little brain says, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And I already know the answer. The worst that can happen is that I never try. So I never know if I can do it.
And so I take a deep breath. Here goes nothing…