For most parents when they see their 6-year-old standing at a fairly large cliff a paternal sense kicks in and they demand that child get down, and scold them for their dangerous behavior. For my parents, that was anything but the case. It was almost something out of a painting. Deep reds and playful pinks swirled around the sky creating a beautiful sunset. A sunset that, at that particular moment, I did not care the least about. Water crashed below me and the wind was ripping at my ankles threating to do the deed I was so terrified of. Fear gripped my stomach and I wanted nothing more than to be home wrapped in a blanket reading my favorite novel. I yearned for that sense of security and knowledge that I was safe. After tedious minutes of standing on that cliff overwhelmed by the howling wind and urges to jump, time took a stand still while I took that one leap that I was so scared of. It was a feeling like flying and I didn’t want it to end.
I didn’t care about what was going to happen when I landed, all I cared about was the sense of freedom that overwhelmed me when I pushed my boundaries and overcame my fear, stepping out of my comfort zone and discovering something wonderful. Then I landed, the shock of cold brought me out of my nirvana, and I rushed out of the water. At that moment I understood why my parents did what they did. It wasn’t to be mean our cruel, it was to show me not to be so scared. Whether that be implemented into school or social situations it taught me that sometimes you need to take that little step out of your comfort zone in order to truly experience the world and everything that comes with it.
Suddenly doors seemed to open up and opportunities started to arise that weren’t there before. The world went from a place of obsolete white where rules must never be broken and authority must never be questioned to a world of vivid color full of passion and originality. Suddenly the things I deemed acceptable seemed frivolous and nothing but ties holding me back from experiencing the lessons that life has to offer. Lessons that won’t always be clean and quick to the point and wont all ways make sense from the start. And though these lessons may be frustrating, they’re the ones that you will take the most from and they’re the ones that will lead to the most growth and happiness in life.
Because of that one nudge, I went from a socially awkward introvert to a still socially awkward extrovert. Since then stepping out of my comfort zone has slowly been becoming easier as its walls have been expanding. I’ve met some of my closest friends, some of my worst enemies, and experienced some of the most incredible things from that one jump. It was hard at first but each time you put yourself out there it becomes a little bit easier than the last and the world seems a little less scary. And it’s when people realize this, that we become capable of such extraordinary things.
As Padora Poikilos once said, “We are so accustomed to the comforts of "I cannot", "I do not want to" and "it is too difficult" that we forget to realize when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak.” Knowledge happens through testing the limits and taking chances. Without the knowledge we have acquired we wouldn’t be where we are today and it is this knowledge that empowers us as a whole. It is this knowledge that bring us together and shows the humanity in people we sometimes fail to realize. The greatest of inventions started with a single thought, the most extravagant of discoveries came to be with a single step, the most complex of math equations started with a single number. A single burst of courage, that will motivate us and lead to great things. And my nudge, was the day I faced my fears and jumped.