The other day I did something I never thought I’d do. I believed that it was the forte of the brave, the wild and free adrenaline junkies, the fearless and the reckless. I agreed to join a friend of mine in taking on the Big Swing. At the time it sounded like fun, but as the day drew closer I started having second thoughts. Too late now, I had already agreed and didn’t want to let her down.
So off we went in the early hours of a chilly Sunday morning while most of the city still slept. We met up with four other ladies and together we headed for Mpumalanga. The Big Swing is in the quiet tourist town of Graskop and after a four hour drive; we arrived, excited and ready to take it on.
The fall was terrifying but also one of the most exhilarating things I have done in my life.
But hang on a minute, is THAT it? I’m supposed jump off a mountain with my back to the ground? I’ll settle for the easier foefie slide (or zip line to non-South Africans), I thought to myself. But after some seeing others bravely taking the leap, my friend and I agreed to do a tandem jump with my friend. As our turn came up, to say we were nervous would be an understatement.
There are moments in your life when you realise that there is no turning back and have no choice but to surrender your fears and trust that whatever lies ahead you will be okay. The fall was terrifying but also one of the most exhilarating things I have done in my life. And once I was safely on the ground, the thrill of conquering something which initially terrified me, made me want to do so much more.
That’s the thing about fear, it grips you and paralyses you as you obsess over it and catastrophise over what could potentially go wrong. But what about all the things that could go right?
If I’d turned down my friend’s initial invitation I would not have had the opportunity to meet other young women from different walks of life and listen to their stories in the eight hour drive to Graskop and back. I wouldn’t have seen the amazing scenery that reminded me of just how beautiful a country we live in.
And most importantly, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see how far I can push myself to try something that is completely outside of my comfort zone. I conquered the Big Swing and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. As much as the thought of something going wrong made me extremely anxious at the time, chances are if I’d stayed at home in my cozy apartment I would have regretted not trying.
And that was the biggest lesson for me. It’s okay to be scared, but feel the fear and do it anyway. Now every time I’m fearful of trying something new and failing at it, I ask myself what’s worse; the pain of failing or the pain of regret? Ultimately it’s your life, so don’t rob yourself of the opportunity live it fully.
Featured image: Ihor Malytskyi/Unsplash