When I was in my early twenties, I went on a trip to the Catskills with some friends. An adventurous group of folks that I had known since high school had taken their show on the road, and ended up living in a band-house in upstate New York. I'm not sure how these things happen to people, but I can attest to the fact that they do.
So up to the Catskills I go, to stay in an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with a rock band.
Yep.. that was my twenties all right.
Feeling particularly motivated one morning, a group of us set off for a hike, with the promise of a waterfall somewhere deep in the hills. After a near-death experience with a fallen-log bridge and a bee-hive (another story for another day) we reached our destination.
A postcard worthy waterfall in the Catskill Mountains. It was beautiful and it reminded me that I do believe in some sort of God, because these natural wonders are too perfect to happen accidentally.
What my brave, and probably stoned, companions had failed to mention is that the plan was to jump off. People were stripping down all around me and running up to the top. Looking closer, I saw that this seemed to be the thing to do. There are other people there, jumping off gleefully with happy if terrified shrieks. So up I go. Because everybody else is doing it and I don't want to seem like I'm scared. By the time I get there I realize that what looked like maybe a 20 foot drop from below is definitely more like 50 or 100. Well, it seemed like it anyway.
I stood up there for what felt like hours. Debating. Talking myself in and out of jumping. Some of my friends jumped 3 or 4 times, and I stood. I realized two things.
One: Some of the other people jumping looked like they were 10 years old. My inner voice let me know that I was way tougher than some kid.
Two: I would never ever be here again. This was my chance. If I didn't jump, right now, I would regret it. I would always wish that I had conquered my fear. That I had been a little braver, a little crazier, a little more like my rock-band friends.
So I jumped.
It was great.
Now I'm well into my thirties. My life is very different than it was then. I am having a baby. I have a house and a fiance and a graduate degree. I have bills and a 401K.
But I am going to jump again, and it feels exactly the same.
I am starting my own business. I am going to market myself as an expert. I am going to tell people that I know what I am talking about, and they should pay me to help them. I want to help people that want my help. I want to do it on my terms. If I don't, I'll always wish that I had.
Check me out