So, my first new experience was…ZIP LINING!
Now anyone who knows me, I mean really knows me, knows that the idea of me zip lining is ridiculous. I’m afraid of heights. I’m afraid of jumping off platforms. I don’t trust cable lines. I don’t trust harnesses. Although I know realistically the odds of plunging to my death while zip lining are miniscule, I always seem to think I’m special. I’ll be the one who beats the odds. As long as there’s one catastrophic story out there that I’ve heard about, that’s usually enough to steer me clear from any potential danger. But now I’m on a mission. I’ve dared double-dog dared myself to embark on 52 new experiences in 52 weeks. And this is indeed a new experience.
A girls’ trip was already on the books set for Asheville, North Carolina to tour the Biltmore Estate and indulge in some wine-tasting. Why not throw in a little adventure? After suggesting it on a group text, three of the five ladies were up for the challenge. Once the commitments were made, I immediately went online to pay for and reserve our spots. I couldn’t let too much time pass or I’d talk myself out of it. I knew that once the money was paid (and it wasn’t cheap), that it would be a done deal.
The Biltmore was amazing. The winery was amazing. But let’s fast-forward to Sunday. So…I was cool as a cucumber up until I started seeing ‘The Adventure Center of Asheville’ signs, letting me know that we were getting close. Then my stomach went into overdrive – 1000s of butterflies had taken shelter in the pit of my stomach. Once I parked, everything seemed to start moving in slow motion. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I was walking in the facility door…I was completing the online waiver (promising not to sue if I’m maimed or killed – really?)…I was going to the bathroom a hundred times…I was walking back and forth to the car…and then they called for our group. We participated in a (too) short training. I did NOT know we were our own braking system. We had to learn the technique to slow ourselves down, being mindful to start the process at just the right time on the zip line to avoid becoming one with the tree at the other end of the line (like I didn’t have enough to worry about while careening through the air).
Anyway, the next thing I know I’m standing on the edge of a platform, having just been given the green light to zip. I won’t lie. It took quite a few LOOONG seconds to build up the nerve to lift my feet up from the platform so gravity could take its course. I quickly learned that the longer you stand there, looking down, the worse it is for you. The best thing to do is just let go as soon as they give you the “all-clear”. Don’t think, just do it. Just go! Perhaps this is a metaphor for life… Ding, ding, ding!
When you are “standing on the edge” of something that you really want that scares the heck out of you and seems to be a crazy idea by ordinary human standards, don’t just stand there and let fear overtake you. Don’t waste time pondering over all the things that could go wrong. Don’t talk yourself out of what could be an incredible experience. Don’t let anyone else talk you out of an incredible experience just because they are too scared to do it. BELIEVE that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be at this very moment in your life. TRUST that inner voice that led you to this position in the first place. KNOW that you have everything you need to do exactly what you want to do. REFUSE to allow fear to dictate how far you go in life and what experiences you choose to have.
So, I finally lifted my feet (after gentle coaxing from a young boy in my group – lol) and took off. Once I stopped screaming, it was pretty awesome. My training kicked in and the next thing I knew, I was zooming in onto the next platform like a champ — and ready to keep going to the next line! You see, that’s what happens when you punch fear in the face. You realize that you’re much stronger and way more powerful than you give yourself credit for because fear is a punk, really. All talk and no real action. All it can do is get in your thoughts and try to interfere with your mind, but that’s it. Once you refuse to listen, the ceiling is the roof! (It’s a Carolina thing – you may not understand).
After zip lining on 7 lines and walking across a sky-bridge (didn’t care much for that, but I did it), I was quite proud of myself. I accomplished something I never thought I would or could do. Now, it’s on the next.
So, what’s my new experience gonna be this week? You’ll just have to stay tuned and see.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt