Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Do you Dive Right In?

Yesterday, I took youngest child to swimming lessons for the first time. Though it was only his first lesson and he didn't know what he was doing, he was quite eager to try out the diving board. In fact, at the end of the lesson, when the teacher said it was time, he climbed up the board and walked to the edge, smiling. But then, before it was time to jump, he seemed to realize that the pool was beneath him, that even though the teacher was right there, the pool could be scary. So he sat down at the edge of the board and refused to move.

Usually youngest child has no fear. He's the kid the who dives head first into literally everything, the kid who terrifies me around playground equipment, steps, and anything moving. So his moment up there on the diving board surprised me, and I have to admit, made me a little happy. I was terrified for him to jump off the board not knowing how to swim.

Today I thought about it: was my reluctance for him to jump, and his reluctance, a form of pessimism? Are fear and pessimism related?

I also realized that a lot of things I do in my life are like youngest child's reaction at the edge of that diving board. I stop and wait. I assess the situation. I'm cautious. I have fear. In younger child's case, I found his fear to be smart -- even optimists shouldn't dive right in to everything blindly, right? But in my case, I realized I've been avoiding working on something specific lately because I was worrying that I wouldn't be able to do it. Each day as I've opened up the document to get to work on my revision, I've been specifically ignoring the part that needed the most work. In short, I've been standing at the edge of that diving board for weeks now. Not today, though. Today, I took a deep breath and started with that section first. And you know what, once I started working on it, I actually started to feel better about it.

And eventually, younger child jumped too, when the teacher came up to jump along with him.

What about you? Do do you dive right in or do you stop and think?


  1. I feel like the fear of doing something is much worse than actually doing it, if that makes sense. Almost all of the time, whenever I start something that I've avoided, I say, "Oh. Huh. This isn't so bad."

  2. I'm a mixture of the two. Sometimes I stop and think before doing something, but there are other times where I've just dove right in. Not always with the greatest results....but then there are the times when everything turns out great! Life is a gamble. How else are we going to know what not to do if we don't first make the mistake?

  3. That is so true, Stacy. I think some fear is a healthy thing, but too much prevents us from what we want.

  4. This is where I am right now. Standing before my next manuscript -- wanting so badly to start -- but so afraid too! Just thinking . . . hestitating . . . Your post helps!

  5. Oh good, I'm glad it helps. That is something you should dive into :-)

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