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Embracing the Fall This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I stood on top of a thirty-foot balcony, toes peeking over the edge. I can’t do this, I thought. My whole body was shaking like a human earthquake, and the people on the ground looked eerily small. I felt them waiting for me, and the weight of it tugged on my heart.
“Do something great for the camera!” my mom yelled from below.
I turned around, my heart jumping in the trampoline of my chest. We were supposed to jump backwards into the air mattresses below. It was a leap of faith.
It felt as though I was airborne for five hours because I couldn’t see the mattress beneath me, which is exactly like life—when you take risks, you jump into the unknown, for there is no certainty.
The landing was surprisingly soft as the mattress embraced me, and I felt triumphant along with a strange sense of peace. Only six of the fifteen people in my movie stunt class had had the courage to jump that day, and I was one of them. Not even my father had dared to try it.
That day taught me something about life. We didn’t automatically jump off a thirty-foot building—we built up to it, jumping off from five, ten, and twenty feet first. To me, this is the recipe for greatness—that we must small things toward our dreams every day, and eventually, we reach them. Jumping off a building is a metaphor for taking risks in life, for dreaming big without apologies or fear. It is about trusting that the pillow at the bottom is there, and knowing how to pick yourself up when it isn’t. I also learned that day that the younger you are, the less fear you have, and about the importance of facing that fear. It was the youngest person in the class, a twelve-year-old boy, who jumped with no hesitation, and it was the older people who refused to jump at all. My goal is to be always young at heart, but with the wisdom that comes from jumping and embracing the fall.





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