Dive Right In

I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately with people about a lot of different things (in all my English classes they advised us to be specific. I was not a very good student, as you can tell). No matter what we are talking about, it seems like there is one common theme that keeps coming up, which is to take the plunge.

I’m going to be honest with you, I do not like this idea right now. There have been plenty of times in my life when I have jumped into something with hardly a second thought. Like college. And grad school. And most jobs I’ve had. And other times when I did think about it a ton and then took the dive, like moving to Germany.

But right now I’m in this kind of limbo in my life. I’m doing things, but they’re all a bit cyclical. I’m not really going anywhere; it’s just one day to the next. And now suddenly people from all parts of my life are telling me to take plunges in all different directions: I should move, I should find a new job, I should start a business, and (worst of all) I should date someone.

90% of the time, I dive in and have no regrets later. Even if things are hard, I will push through and come out a better person. (If I had been a swimmer at any point in my life, I would probably have a super cool personal experience/metaphor to insert right here. But I pretty much only know two strokes and I basically despise swimming pools unless me and my friends are the only people in them. I’m fine with oceans and lakes though.)

The other 10% of the time, I have dived into something and by the end wished I could rewind back to the top of the diving board (or cliff). And usually these experiences are incredibly painful. In reality, I probably just haven’t made it to the other shore yet. But if I’m already still treading water and flailing through a few experiences that I’ve been trying to wade through for years, do I really need to dive into something else right now?

Back to my previous post, I’m just going to quickly say that the primary reason the 10% turns out with unhappy endings is because of someone else exercising their agency which impedes mine – or they just straight up drained my pool and I’m stuck at the bottom and can’t climb up the slippery, tiled walls. I don’t know. I’m not blaming anyone, but I am saying that sometimes taking the plunge when other people are directly involved in your success is a bit terrifying.

There’s a song that I love by Hoobastank that I’ll just quote here:

I stand before a road that will lead
Into the unknown, at least unknown to me
I want to go but I’m paralyzed with fear
Fear of a choice, where the outcome isn’t clear
No, but still I go
And I take the first step of a million more
And I’ll make mistakes I’ve never made before
But at least I’m moving forward
At least I’m moving forward
How wise you are, Hoobastank. Even though you have a weird name.
The only time I went cliff diving, I stood on the edge of the cliff for a good half hour, maybe more, and then climbed down to a lower precipice and stood there for a few more minutes before I dove. But I still dove. Pretty sure any move I make in my life right now is going to be just like that.
But at least I’ll move forward.

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