Jump in, just go for it!

A picture of the geographical landform "T...

A picture of the geographical landform "The Sphynx", at the Gallipoli battlefield, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was Just the other day I was bathing our little boy, Will, who is just about 6 months old. He absolutely loves the water and on this day he was having a lot of fun splashing the water with his hands. For such little hands he was producing some mighty big splashes. It got me thinking about all the other ways he’ll have fun in the water in months and years to come, diving, swimming, surfing, jumping and ‘bombing’. reminded of a time a few years back when I was visiting the site of the World War I Gallipoli campaign in Turkey. I wrote a post about it last year. You can read it here. This small stretch of rugged coastline on the Dardanelles is something of a pilgrimage site for many Australians. It also has special significance for me as it’s also very close to the ancient site of Troy, the setting of the great epic, the Iliad.

The little tourist bus I was on stopped off at several beaches where those Australians all those years ago, along with even larger numbers of French and English troops, had been penned-in for several months. One of these had a long pier where people fished. Some young guys and a few children were taking turns jumping off the pier. It looked like they were having a great time. I remember it being a very hot day so a swim was the perfect way to cool down. Even more alluring was the thought of swimming in the water where the those soldiers, the ANZACs, had been almost 100 years ago. In my mind’s eye I also had vivid images from Peter Wier’s film Gallipoli; images of the men coming to shore in their landing boats under a hail of fire and of the occasional downtime when the troops might actually swim in the water just for pleasure, though still with the danger of being shot by snipers!

The beach at which Gallipoli was filmed, along with some scenes from Jaws. Incidentally this is in South Australia, not Turkey.

I was never really one for jumping off high places and this pier was quite high by my standards, so I spent a while considering whether or not I would do it. As I considered what to do, I became very clear about one thing, if I waisted this opportunity I was going to really regret it. There was no internal argument about this. So in spite of the fact that I didn’t have any of the usual things like a towel or bathers, I just decided to go for it.

It was soo beautiful!

It was cold and deep but it felt fantastic, I also felt like I had somehow burst through my own protective shell, at least for this moment. I can’t remember exactly, but I also loved the feeling of jumping, that rush, and so I did a few more.

It was more than fun though. There was a deep satisfaction knowing that I had won a little symbolic victory over a smaller part of my self. And I had won by employing regret in a way that moved me forward. Regret is something that I usually dislike. Learn from the past, definitely, but regret in the way it is normally used is a waste of time.

The lesson is one I’ve found useful many times since when I’ve needed to overcome fear and hesitation to move into the unknown, to go to places, where I suspect I’ll experience joy, love, bliss – where I might flourish. In these times we’ve usually just got to go for it, to jump in, in spite of our fear, in spite of uncertainty that surrounds the unknown.

Have you ever used regret like this? Is there something you’re dying to do but that you’re holding yourself back from? I’d love it if you would share your story below.

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16 thoughts on “Jump in, just go for it!

  1. That sounds pretty cool! Looks like a really beautiful beach also.

    I had the opportunity to move to Paris for a couple of years to study. Just before the date to leave there were some hesitations, which … I dismissed and could not pass up the opportunity in case it never came around again! I’m still in Paris and am thankful for all I’ve learned and seen thus far 🙂

  2. Ooo. The Paris-living sounds wonderful.

    This is a very dear topic to my heart, and one I’m currently struggling with relative to my writing on several levels. I know I need to jump in, but am holding back for valid reasons as well. Guess one side hasn’t pushed hard enough yet.

    As per times I’ve taken the bull by the horns, here is a recounting of one occasion: I was fed up with my own shyness. At that time, I took a new job that inherently would set me up to meet new people (assuming, I wasn’t sitting away from everyone with my nose in a book during downtime, which I did, lol). Anyway, one day I found an empty seat smack in the middle of about five guys having a blast. Took that seat, said hello, joined in the fun.

    I’ve never looked back and shyness no longer is.

    Great post, James. One day I will see that lovely place firsthand.

    • Thanks for sharing your story also Joanna. Timing around creative projects is really an art. Projects really have a life of their own, unless you have a publisher’s schedule to meet, then that pressure can help to concentrate the creative forces.

      I have no idea if this is relevant, but one of the most common problems I encounter with writing is just putting it off. Just establishing a regular practice of writing something, anything, can really help I think. It doesn’t have to be any good. This is different to trying to force out something that’s perfect from the get go. That’s the best recipe for indefinite delay and just provides fuel for the internal critic..

      As you’re story illustrates though, you’ve got an open attitude, and it sounds like you’re willing to step outside your usual range of experience. I think this is a great spirit to bring to your creative work. JS

      • I think ‘putting it off’ (when it comes to the novel I’m currently attempting to write and the possibility of ghostwriting to make $) is key. Time constraints and a less-than-structured schedule don’t help, and I find it very hard to impose structure with the family forces around me. Something I need to work on so that it’s no longer an excuse. (I’m rarely alone at home–where I best like to write), and that’s usually early at the day job, where there is paperwork of its own that needs be done.

      • family responsibilities do make it extra challenging, and unless you are prepared to get up super early or stay up later than the family it might not be possible to schedule for this particular and temporary stage in your life. That said you can just commit to making better use of the windows of opportunity that do arise, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, and you can organise things so that when those times do open up you can sieze them almost instantly.

      • Those short windows feel terribly chaotic at times but that’s what I try to do. I get this stage is temporary so I do try not to wish it away. It’s not only my children’s childhood it’s my younger years as well I’m rushing by, lol. Thanks!

      • Time always rushes when we’re not fully in the moment, when our minds in the next fifty things for the day, and the busier we become with children, work, etc. the more this becomes the norm and usually the less we get done as well. I’ve always struggled making formal meditation a habit, but there are point throughout the day which I use to cultivate this both consciously and not. Time with my little boy is one of them, just being in awe of this beautiful being we’ve created, and even just a couple of minutes in the garden, with or without my morning coffee.. I have found the more present and focussed I can be just on the now the more I’m able to achieve and the richer my experience is in the process.

  3. After considering whether a situation is safe, if others have gone before you and shown that there aren’t rocks under the water where you’re gonna jump, fine. But I still would never just dive into unknown waters….
    That being said, sometimes it is very rewarding to take a chance.
    But not with one’s life.

    I’m glad you took this chance.

    • Thanks very much for your comment. Of course, generally speaking, it’s wise to see investigate a bit to see how safe it is. On this particular occasion there were plenty of people already jumping so it was obviously safe. But what is safe for someone else might not be safe for me, and vise versa – especially where skill is needed. As a metaphor though, this really assumes that the situation is more or less safe. Trying a job that you suspect you’ll enjoy entails risking that it might actually be disappointing. Starting a business usually has lots of different risks involved, and even when we do a lot of serious research it’s impossible to know everything in advance. We don’t usually see it this way, but in a very real sense each is an unknown quantity. Life becomes more interesting in my opinion when we embrace that and create with it. JS

  4. Wow. I can completely identify with travelingmad and her Paris move. I was once living in Washington, DC, post-college, with an okay job and great friends, and the opportunity came up for me to teach English in Taipei, Taiwan. My first thought was, no way, because I didn’t speak any Mandarin or know anything about Taiwan. But then I realized that, besides my friends, I didn’t have a husband, or kids, or a boyfriend, or a house, or a car, or a pet, or even a plant at that point, and if not then, then when? So I went. My mother cried the evening before I left. Now, almost ten years later, I am back in Washington, DC and still in touch with those great friends. But now I speak Mandarin and am the China Programs Manager of a study abroad company. I am writing a novel based on my experiences in Taiwan. My mother, who ended up visiting me in Taiwan with my father, is thrilled I went. It’s safe to say that moment changed my life. Where would I be if I hadn’t jumped?

    • Thanks for sharing your terrific story Ingrid. You’ve also brought just how this leap of faith ‘paid off’ in lots of ways that you wouldn’t have been able to guess at the time, including of course, the fact that you’ve used it as creative inspiration and fuel.

  5. A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine who is a shaman told me that right then, metaphorically speaking, I was a bit like a penguin, which is to say that I’m a bit awkward and wobbly on land, but once I’ve made the dive into the water, I’m right at home in my element, comfortable, graceful even. The particular jump for me has been the decision to leave Seattle after having lived here for about 9 years, and make my way to Australia to live in the long-term. This requires me to live in an unfamiliar place in my head–the “I don’t know” place. I’m hanging out there now and learning to love the creative insights that have been unleashed by entering that place, as well as the synchronous opportunities that live is bringing across my path now that I have decided to let go of here. In the short-term, I don’t know yet where I will go, or for how long, or how I will make my living as I go. But this particular time seems to call for closing one’s eyes, getting really clear on what one wants to create with the rest of one’s life, taking a leap, and having faith that everything will turn out for the best. Thanks for your post! Sadly, it’s too cold here to go for a swim right at the moment, but I’m looking forward to diving in at the earliest warm opportunity on down the line!

    • Greetings from Aus. I’m really grateful to you for sharing your story. It’s a wonderful, scary moment. Finding your element, like the penguin finding water is a truly great thing because once you’re in it you can play, create, and express all your powers, some of which you are probably not even aware of. It’s the place you were made for, that you are optimised for. It’s going to be great, challenging at first I suspect, but ‘great’ is never a ‘cake walk’, this is why I keep going back to the hero because their story is always of full of challenges, but as soon as the accept the call, the universe comes out to meet them and provide the assistance necessary. You’ll meet the people you need to and discover the opportunities that are here already waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

  6. Thanks, James. I appreciate everything you’re saying and am aware of much of it. I also realize this is a season of my family’s life and am not necessarily looking to wish it away. (Does get in the way of focus though, I must say.) I also believe in the process and that I am currently in mine.

  7. Pingback: Another Mash-Up: TEN Awesome Articles… « Joanna Aislinn's Blog–Love, Life Lessons and Then Some

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