I’m a terrified human. I always have been. It makes me panic watching children do back flips fearlessly off of shipping containers. I cringe and get angry with worry watching friends and siblings walk on the edge of cliffs or railings on bridges. There’s a part of me that cannot stand to be witness to an accident, and a larger part that cannot stand the idea that a loved one could die for doing something reckless. It plagued (or graced) me throughout my childhood as I’d run to my parents screaming and crying about the next dangerous thing my siblings were up to.
I also believe in growth and pushing boundaries. Which is what led me to complete my bucket list item of “bungee jumping” with my sister, Clair, and one of my best friends, Britt, in Whistler, BC, Canada. Safe risks. Calculated risks. Risks we are all likely to survive, probably.
Two years later, while in Europe with Britt, we got to talking about how much we had enjoyed bungee jumping the first time. With 100% certainty, I told her I’d do it again, someday. That’s where the conversation ended. No research done. Nothing planned.
On one of the pamphlets we had picked up at a gas station was a beautiful picture of a park, Killiecrankie, where there were plenty of places to walk and Jacobite history to learn. We made our way there.
The parking cost £2 and the machine only accepted coins. Britt had gone into the nearest building either to get change or look for information about the place. I waited and eventually followed her.
It wasn’t the welcome center at all.
There she stood amidst harnesses and signs of people throwing themselves off bridges.
We made eye contact. Decision made.
Although she’d already made the decision herself and was trying to schedule before I knew about it.
They were unable to schedule us for the same day, but we were able to schedule a jump the following morning. We paid. I asked for change and on shaky legs I went to pay for parking.
I woke up nervous and unable to eat. Although maybe passing on food wasn’t such a bad idea.
We drove out to the same parking lot and prepared ourselves for the jump.
The staff was personable, kind, and very knowledgeable. They made it easy to trust in the process, and they kept our nerves down with continuous jokes.
We were weighed, we were numbered, and climbing the ladder and walking on the underside of the bridge, I found myself becoming more anxious.
We watched the first two people do the “swing”. The started at one end and were released, swinging like a giant pendulum underneath the bridge. Then it was the jumpers time to shine.
The first time I ever jumped, I was chosen to go first. It was best because I hadn’t had the chance to sit and analyze (more than the weeks leading up to the event). This particular day, I was to go last. One by one, my panic increased. The jumps were graceful and everyone was exhilarated, but what about mine…?
As they called me over, I wiggled my way to the platform on bound and unstable legs.
Everyone jumped on the first count. Would I?
In Canada, I threw myself off the platform like doing a pencil dive (although not straight) into a pool. I knew I had to up my game and throw myself off in a dive. I didn’t know if I had that kind of courage.
I walked up to the platform. I waited for the count, my toes slightly over the edge. All my nerves were in my fingers as they wiggled back and forth to calm me. “Spirit Fingers” we had called them in high school diving.
My eyes were open, although my mind went blank and my breath stuck. With my arms spread out, I flew towards the river below.
Like a slingshot, I flew back up, my body twisting itself ungracefully, and as the rest of the bouncing and hanging process took over, I was at complete peace. Excited, but peaceful.
There’s something powerful in knowing that I am a cautious person, terrified to step to the ledge, but able to overcome my own barriers and boundaries. Not only did I find myself ready to jump again, but everything felt calm because I had trusted and I chose to make the leap.
The waiting is always the worst part for me, but the event is beautiful and life-giving, similar to most things I pursue. There are always struggles and unknowns, but I’ll always be chasing to break the next boundary, the next challenge, especially those I’ve set for myself.
For information on Highland Fling Bungee check out their website! I highly recommend giving them a try if you find yourself in town and looking for a challenge!
What are some of your fears and self-imposed boundaries that you’d like to overcome?
What’s on your bucket list? Do you have a bucket list (or just a mental list of things you’d like to do over time)?