Last week at my family reunion I had the opportunity to ride a zip line for the first time in my life.
Relatives of all ages, sizes and fitness levels were zipping down the hill. I was eager to try this adventure.
With my zip line harness and hard hat in place, I climbed up a tree, hand-over-hand up the spikes until I reached the zip line platform. A man at the top attached my harness to the zip line, offered his hand as I stepped onto the platform and told me to step off whenever I was ready.
I looked down below. And then I froze.
What the heck was I doing? Why did I think I could muster the courage to step off the platform into nothing but air? Would the line hold me? What if something went wrong?
Then I took a few deep breaths, just like Jeanie, my dragon boat coach, has taught me to do before a race.
In the seconds it took to breathe deeply, I began to think clearly. I remembered I wasn't the same fearful woman I had been two years earlier.
Now I'm all about being brave and trying new experiences. I've tried kayaking, SUP (stand up paddleboard) and snowshoeing. Three times a week I paddle a dragon boat with the Mighty Women Paddling Club. I've exercised regularly, made better food choices and have lost 45 pounds so far. In the process, I've gained confidence. But I still face fearful situations.
Earlier that morning I'd been swimming in the lake with cousins and siblings when I'd found the courage to climb up the diving board ladder and forced myself to jump off the diving board--something I had never been able to do. I jumped multiple times to convince myself I'd finally conquered my diving board fear.
Yet here I was, standing on the zip line platform and paralyzed with fear. I looked down. This was a LOT higher than the diving board. But I had a secure harness to keep me from falling. It was safe.
Taking some more deep breaths, I told myself, "You can do this."
I stepped off the platform--and began zipping through the air. Exhilarating! True, I screamed like a girl all the way down the hill, but I kept my eyes open and enjoyed the ride.
What fears are holding you back from stepping off the platform and experiencing your next adventure? Let go of your fear. Take some deep breaths. And then step off the platform. That first step is a doozy, but what a ride awaits you!
For my next adventure I'm considering windsurfing lessons.