On Thursday, I got a text message. It was from one of the people I care the most about in the whole world, and it tore my heart a little.
There was a change coming up in his life – and in the lives of those closest to him. A big move, which he was scared about, which was making him “feel like shit” as he himself wrote.
That is what changes sometimes tend to do to people. I can tell for myself—I’ve made some huge changes in my life a couple times. Moving across the ocean to a whole new continent was one of them. And the more you value the way things are before the change, the more terrifying, depressing, and stressful the change seems to be (and is). And the closer it gets, the more it digs itself under one’s skin.
“… it’s all going to change. And that’s scaring me now, now that I can feel how close the change is,” he wrote. I didn’t intend to write a novel in response, let alone something that would be sharing-worthy. I didn’t know how to help, either. But then, as I was typing a response, the perfect analogy just came as if out of nowhere, and suddenly, it all kinda made sense.
“That is understandable. I know that it is scary and depressing and I also know that there’s not much others can say to you to make you feel different. Change is uncomfortable and sometimes terrifying. But so is cliff diving—at first. And then you jump and for a few seconds, as you plunge through the air, it feels like the scariest shit you’ve ever done—but at the same time, it feels just amazing, freeing… But then you suddenly stop falling and dive deep into the water. You start swimming up—and for a few scary seconds that feel unbelievably long, you think you won’t make it to the surface in time, you think you’re going to drown and die. It’s sometimes even worse than the moment when you had to jump. But then you make it to the surface and it is the best you’ve ever felt. And you want to do it again. You see, you’re at the edge of a cliff, hugging the tough rock with your toes, breathing in and out in an attempt to calm yourself before jumping…
And you know what else is great about cliff diving? There’s always a ladder that you climb back out, there are people waiting in the water to help you swim up if you can’t, and there are people on the top of the cliff, cheering you on and wanting with their entire hearts for you to have the best experience.
We love you, ___. And I and others are all around—cheering you on as you jump and waiting in the water to help you up should anything go wrong, or should you just need a little bit more encouragement.”
Change IS like cliff diving. And it IS scary. But there ARE people who want to make sure that you get out from under the water—and that you have the best experience possible.
I hope you can know it. I hope I do, too…
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