Do What You’re Afraid Of

I live by this. You do not know what you are capable of until you start pushing your limits. What scares you? For me, it’s that feeling you get when you fall. It’s not necessarily a heights thing; it’s me imagining every single possible scene which results in my death. As a kid, I never thought twice about it. I never built up a tolerance to being up high, so naturally, when I decided to randomly try cliff jumping two summers ago, you can imagine what it was like.

It took me what felt like an eternity, but I jumped twice off of the smallest cliff at the lake that year. I did it twice because I needed to prove to myself that if I could do it once, I could do it again. Can’t say it felt any better the second time.

When I look back on my life, I like to remember the times I have pushed myself to do the things that scare me, in some way, shape, or form. It’s how I’ve chosen to think. I motivate myself with small goals so I can achieve bigger ones. I’ve always been a part of a sport since I was little; from gymnastics, to ice skating, to soccer. Not all of them were successes either. I quit cross country — I have the biggest respect for those that were able to run fast and for long periods of time. Running never made me happy — it made me puke. But maybe it’s just because I get more satisfaction being in a team sport.

When I moved to White Rock, I saw it as an opportunity to try a new sport: hockey! I already knew how to ice skate, so how hard could this be? Apparently very hard. I fell every five seconds the minute I stepped onto the ice. Hockey skates are VERY different from figure skates. By the end of tryouts, I was crying in the car telling my mom that I don’t want to play hockey anymore. She told me to try again. The next day of tryouts yielded the same results. I thought this was going to be another cross country incident. 

It was so much more than that. It was just a team playing for fun, and I have to admit that my first year of hockey was probably the most fun. My teammates and coach were patient with me and helped me whenever they could. I scored goals. I learned to skate faster. The most rewarding part about the whole season was that my coach, at his end-of-the-year speech, included naming me the Most Improved Player. He said he picked me first because I kept getting up every time I fell. You don’t have to take his word for it — try it yourself. If you keep persisting in the things you love, it turns to passion. Other people can see that passion and more importantly, the progress you make when you keep at it.

I remind myself of this as I decided to try some new stuff this year. I learned how to snowboard, and this summer I decided to try mountain biking and test my mid-air obstacle course skills at Wildplay. Snowboarding has become a new obsessive passion I’m sure I’ll rant about later. Mountain biking was extremely out of my zone. I managed to fall into the only mud puddle on the entire mountain, and left bruised and sore like never before. I got the hang of it a little bit near the end of the day, and I’d try it again, but I can’t say it’s a newfound passion I’ll be going out of my way to do.

Wildplay was a whole different story. It challenged me physically and mentally. It sucks when 10 year olds are swinging around 50 feet in the air, unafraid of the heights they are at and you’re a 21 year old university student who lifts heavy weights once in a while but can’t get across the easiest Wildplay levels without wanting to cry every minute. You best believe we decided to do the last extra extreme level too. Either way, I found that over time, I became so focused on trying to get across the obstacles, the height I was at became more of a background. I wouldn’t recommend this to the faint-hearted, but I would go again. Is this a metaphor to future life obstacles? I can’t even be sure. But I know one thing; be ready to sweat, and most of all, be ready to be outside your comfort zone.

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