The water is fine
I grew up swimming and surrounded by swimmers. Art, my oldest brother, was on the swim team and my youngest brother, Fireman Joe, jumps out of helicopters to save people in the water and under the ice. My oldest daughter, Katie, was a Water Polo Player, and Lauren, my youngest, is the absolute best at the backstroke.
My fearless family has always just jumped right in. For me, it took a little longer. I tended to think it through first; overthink it, to be honest. Once I was in the water, you couldn’t get me out, but that first step was always filled with hesitation. Maybe the water would be too cold; maybe too deep. The bottom of the lake could be covered with seaweed or filled with fish just waiting to take a taste. I filled my head with uncertainty and unwillingness. And because of that, I missed out on a lot.
When I was about 10 years old, my whole family would spend every Summer Saturday at an outdoor pool. This particular pool had two diving boards. One was a just few feet above the water and the other seemed to tower over the buildings.
My brothers, friends, and other kids would fight their way to the top of that ladder, run to the end of that board, and leap with reckless abandon. They’d splash in, pop out of the water, paddle their way to the side, and do it again and again. I stood on the sidelines, slack jawed and speechless watching my peers purposely plummeting into the abyss.
After hours of urging and peer-pressure, I eventually made my way to the steps. With hundreds of kids crowded on those 10 rungs, I still felt alone. One by one the many mindless munchkins in front of me flew through the air screaming with glee. Then it was my turn to walk the plank. It seemed to get more and more narrow the closer I got to the end. I looked down and the water was a thousand feet away. The crowd chanted, “JUST JUMP!” And after an eternity of second-guessing myself, my feet left the board, I soared through the air, and splashed into to the deep end. I emerged unscathed, swimming, singing, and smiling. I love the water.
We all have dark water in our lives. An inevitable destination or decision that we want to put off for as long as we can. Maybe it’s a new relationship, a new job, or a new opportunity. Maybe the hesitation is fear of failure or ridicule. Whatever it is, compare it to the pool. Some people lounge on the side and never go in. Some must dip their toes in to test the temperature. Some just jump and others gracefully dive in. And a few need to be pushed in.
Saturdays only come once a week and summers only come once a year. One way or another, you’re going to be in the water, so just jump in, take a leap of faith. The water is fine!