Removing Obstacles 3

How Jumping Off a Bridge Changed My Life

I step around to the unsafe side of the safety fence. The ledge—300 feet above ground—isn’t quite wide enough to fit the full length of my feet. My mind goes eerily calm. I take a deep breath, focus on the horizon, and await the countdown. Then, I jump.

Later, friends would ask, “Did it feel like flying?”

No. It feels like falling. Falling fast. Then it feels like a complete chiropractic adjustment as the bungee cord—no wider than the width of my arm—reaches the last of its elastic charm. And then it feels like being tossed back up as if I were pizza dough, only to get the chiropractic adjustment once more.

A Not-So-Dare-Devilish Report of an 
Inaugural Bungee Jump

I truly had no intention of making this jump. It wasn’t on my bucket list. I was not giddy in anticipation. I was horrified, nauseous and couldn’t sleep for the two nights between making the reservation and taking the dive.

And yet, this might have been the single best gift I could have given myself at this point in my life.

Miriam Webster’s fifth definition for “resolution” resonates with me. It reads, “the point in a literary work at which the chief dramatic complication is worked out.” For me, it’s the point in one’s life at which a chief obstacle is overcome. So, if that is what making New Year’s resolutions is all about, I’m in. Obstacles in your life aren’t good. Self-imposed obstacles are the worst, and they cry out for resolution.

Stubborn Obstacles

I recognized it when I overheard someone talking to my friend about doing the jump. Their conversation centered on the perception of being too heavy—a common self-imposed obstacle—to make the jump. This was me and I was tired of it.

Of course, one of the first things you’re required do upon check-in at the jump site is to hop on a scale in front of God and everybody. This weigh-in, however, determines the strength of the bungee cord aiming to keep you alive. So the “public weigh-in” as an obstacle was an easy one to remove.

And then I jumped. The gift of the adrenaline lasted for days. I couldn’t sit still. I still can’t. I lost weight because I eliminated the weight obstacle. Now that’s profound.

On the drive home, I told my friend that the other fears currently on my list (yes, I really do keep one) were NOTHING compared to having accomplished this. I immediately set out to check them off.

Hiking alone. Check. Camping by myself. Check.

Self-imposed obstacles are the worst, and they cry out for resolution.

Singing at an Open Mic

Performing in front of people was going to be tough. Almost jumping off a bridge tough. I’ve been a singer forever, yet was continually cautioned that the piano—a twelve-year investment in lessons—was my instrument and that singing solo was akin to “showing off.” And yet, I love, Love, LOVE to sing.

There I am, on a stage with game seven of the World Series playing on a giant screen behind me and a few friends and a lot of strangers in front of me. I did it. I sang my heart out. And, I felt wonderful—a little nauseous—but wonderful. “Showing Off” obstacle removed.

I still have a few more fears to check off my list, and the days ahead are bound to bring a few more unexpected challenges. Yet I can say that working through the obstacles life throws at you is far easier when you feel as though you can conquer the ones you’ve thrown at yourself.

My New Year’s
 for 2017

I am planning a personal pilgrimage of sorts to include—but not limited to—a backpacking trip, a midnight swim in a beautiful mountain pool, and a celebration ceremony honoring the obliteration of self-imposed obstacles.