“If you don’t jump, you will be stuck. FOREVER!” proclaimed my Kiwi tour guide. He looked directly into my eyes. He stared at my soul. We were outside of Queenstown, New Zealand at AJ Hackett Bungee at the Kawarau River Bridge, arguably the home of bungee jumping. The bridge is about 40 meters (roughly 154 feet) above the river. I watched several people jump. (Bungee jumping on the Kawarau River.) Despite my initial bravado, I quickly realized I would not be jumping. I was scared to death. I stood there holding a small section of bungee cord in my hand with a steel resolve and planted feet. I was not going to jump, even if my future would be damned.
It has been several years since I was in New Zealand.
I have been thinking about my tour guide’s prediction. I have been thinking about what it means to be stuck. I have been thinking about what it means to acknowledge fear. I have been thinking about how we conquer fear. I have been wondering what it means to walk to an edge and back down. Is it failure or acceptance? Is it weakness or strength? Is it paralysis or wisdom?
I have reasons why I did not jump.
- The bridge was way the hell above the river.
- Bungee cords are really thin.
- Jumpers bounced several times during one jump.
- Jumpers had traumatized expressions on their faces after it was over.
- Heights and drops have scared the hell out of me my entire life.
I have reasons why I am not stuck.
- Passion motivates me.
- I trust my gut.
- I learn something everyday.
- I take risks.
- I pursue my goals.
If I could talk with my tour guide today I would tell him a few things. I have no regrets. I would not jump today, either. I have found different challenges to confront over the years. My edge is different. I finished the book we discussed as we drank beer under the Southern Cross. I quit my job, got married, and moved to Miami. I will run three half marathons within the next 6 months. I am moving toward the hot in the hot/cold test of life. I do not feel stuck.