A lot has happened in a year, but more importantly for me, a lot has happened in 26. In all the attention I try to give being mindful, it wasn’t until a few days ago, realizing my birthday was approaching, that I really took a moment to reflect on turning another year older. And let me take a moment to speak about reflection: whether you regularly keep a journal, or regularly force yourself to “snap out of it” anytime you notice your mind losing focus on a task at hand, you should always make time to reflect. I would never encourage “dwelling” on the past, but rather, I truly believe the best way to grow in our present is through analytical and respectful acknowledgement of the experiences from which we’ve come.
As I reflected this past weekend, and as my thoughts really started to marinade, I was able to remember so many pivotal moments from over the past several years. Despite seeming so small and insignificant then, these moments have contributed majorly to so much of my surroundings today: loving who I am as a person, taking pride in being 100% my own biggest fan, and overall just being happy, healthy, and strong. But just over a couple years ago, I didn’t feel this way. I was depressed, pretending to be content with complacency, and I was as chalk full of fears as I was of excuses. I was trapped on a cliff, considering staying there forever instead of jumping into the unknown water below.
One of my favorite quotes, I’ll always say, is Ghandi suggesting that, “not everything you do in this life will be significant, but you must do it anyway.” The beauty about real life is that usually the cliff is just a metaphor, and hopefully you’re jumping in the direction toward something that’ll make you happier. I’ve had some pretty specific instances in life where I’ve had no other choice but to go with the flow, and when the opportunity to make a decision presented itself, I tried to run backward, or at least jog in place for a really long time. I disguised myself with avoidance because even though the water seemed inevitably deep, the threats it potentially contained were too great a risk. Plus, even if I did survive, why should I believe in myself enough to safely swim ashore?
I think I’ve discovered that in actuality, the most difficult position to be is on that cliff, staring down below. Some of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make have turned out to be some of the best. I owe so much to where I’m from, especially because of the sentiment it carries in this journey. There were many cliffs I’ve turned my back to over the years – I certainly didn’t face them all. In fact, I’ve probably faced very few at this point. But that’s exciting to me because it means there are even more to come. More learning to happen, and more growing to take place.
My advice to anyone staring down their fears, unsure of what could happen if they took the leap: a little faith goes a long way. Believe in yourself. Give yourself a chance. Then acknowledge that feeling – I mean really feel that feeing of being afraid. Feeling afraid means you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and at the absolute very least, you’ll learn something new about yourself. So own it, and be proud of it, and then, “do it anyway.”
Jump off the damn cliff.