On Labor Day Weekend of 2012, I did one of the bravest things I'd ever done in my life. It was also a foolish thing to do, considering I'd never done it before. The night had long since fallen, and a foggy morning was brooding somewhere between the lines of the late summer air. The sky was clear and the stars shone brightly, which was unusual for a city kid who had spent the last two weeks in The Middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. I was looking down at my toes, the clear pool water swishing gently. The rest of the cast and crew of the feature film set were all on the shallow end of the backyard pool. I stood alone, wrapped in a blanket of the silence of my own world.
The water beneath me could swallow me whole and no one would notice at first. I'd never swam in the deep end before. For much of my life, the deep end was like the near-endlessness of the sea and it's horizon. It unnerved me with its unforgiving uncertainty. Floating without footing was like flying. Everyone feared heights, but I, born as a twin fish, was afraid of water. Yes, I could swim. So why was I so afraid?
I chose that night not to be afraid anymore. It was not a calculated move. I did not warn anyone else that I was going to do this. I did not consider doing this earlier in the day. The impulse came and I listened.
And there I stood. I wasn't ready. And I didn't know what was going to happen. So I jumped.
And I swam.
No one is ever fully ready. Inspiration comes when you least expect it, and that scares us. It's like a surprise, with the shock that makes us gasp and leap and accelerates our blood. A new idea can excite us as well as surprise us. But it scares us, too. Because if we follow along with it, the results can be detrimental. We may fail. We may not have the resources. We may drown.
But I didn't sink. I didn't die. I wasn't hurt. I gained more courage by taking that jump than I ever gained by jumping when I was prepared. I wasn't sure when I started writing my first novel if I was ready to be a novelist. Sure, it was what I always wanted to be. Yes, I knew I could write. But what if I couldn't write well? What if I couldn't forge a good plot or engaging themes?
You don't know what all you can do until you jump. Being ready is something that never truly happens. You will never be 100% prepared. You won't know fully what could happen. Being ready is more like saying I have the courage to discover something new about myself, even when it means I might lose something about myself in the process.
Are you afraid to jump into something? Let us know in the comments!