When’s the right time to make the changes you know you really want and need to make? How on earth are you going to get started with them? If you’re anything like me these are the kind of nagging questions that occasionally keep you awake at night.
Well here’s the thing. Last week I went river swimming with my family. The day was hot and the water was C-O-L-D. It was cold but it was beautiful and appetizing, coming fresh from the mountains and collecting in deep, clear pools. I knew I wanted to get in. I knew I would have to. I’d hiked an hour to get here for heaven’s sake. I was hot and sweaty and craving the cooling caress of the water. I also knew that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to edge my way in, step by tenuous step, the icy water inching up my exposed and oh-so-sensitive skin.
There was clearly only one thing for it. I would have to jump in.
And jump I did. (See above.) Once I’d committed to the idea the act itself was the matter of a moment. I was immediately freed of all that mental torture of ‘will I won’t I? can I can’t I? will I just wait a bit longer?’ and the agony of prolonging that is a slow, uncertain entry into uncharted waters, the heightened, over-sensitized pain of it.
I’m not saying it wasn’t cold when I splashed down. You only need to glance at the
grimace expression on my face as I hit the water. But then, instantly I was in. And it was over. I could kick and swim to warm myself up. I could relax into the water and into movement, freed from the paralysis that preceded it.
And it struck me that this is so often the way in life, whenever there are changes to be made or decisions to be taken. The worst bit is the waiting. The over-thinking. The build-up. The tension. So many times we’d be so much better off just jumping in. Screwing our courage up and launching ourselves forward.