Freshman year of college, my family and I went on a cruise to Central America. Our last stop on the cruise was an island off the coast of Honduras that was more or less a Carnival owned tourist trap where they dropped you off to spend more money.
During our short stay in “Honduras”, my family decided to go zip lining off the side of a very large mountain. I’m sure the mountain wasn’t as large as I’m remembering, but at the time I remember thinking that my odds of surviving were 99-1%, favoring my quick and speedy death.
Let’s remember that I’m the one who won’t even go on Splash Mountain at Disneyland and went on a very long hike to a water slide only to not go down the slide. I don’t do heights, I don’t do rides, and I don’t do anything where the potential of death outweighs my thirst for adventure.
I was disappointed in myself for a while for not having tried zip lining, especially after watching my family ride it down and seeing how much fun they were having. I made it my goal to some day suck it up and give it a try.
This past week, my unit traveled to Mendocino to do team bonding activities and some service work. While there, we did a high ropes course that ended with a zip line.
I’ve grown to a point where I can rationalize that the odds of my death are actually much lower then I’m imagining. I set my goal for the day to get up on the high ropes course and actually do the zip line.
The high ropes course was a really amazing experience. I’m usually very awful with heights, but I tricked myself into not thinking about it until I was actually up on the course. There were a few moments of internalized girlish screams and some “I’m going to die” mantras, but ultimately I made it past the few challenges I chose to do and was really proud of myself for trying.
It still wasn’t easy for me to let go when it came time for the zip line but, after repeatedly telling myself there was no chance of the line breaking and me falling, I finally did it. And, just as expected, it was pretty awesome.
It was an interesting experience attempting to challenge myself in a physical way but I really appreciated the opportunity to go outside of my comfort level. There was a saying in FEMA that was repeated frequently that the only way to experience true growth is to live just outside of your comfort zone. It’s easier to give up and fall back to an area where you can slide by, but I’m finding myself frequently being asked to go further and do better. Setting these goals and having to challenge myself to move forward has been a good experience to show myself that there are not many reasons to doubt my abilities. Even if it doesn’t pan out, that’s still an opportunity for growth in failure.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the benefits of seasonal work while I’m in my twenties. Getting up on the ropes course was definitely not easy by any means, but once I was up there I really appreciated being able to watch others set goals for themselves and try to do more then they were comfortable with. After so many team-bonding activities like these, I’ve been thinking a lot about adding outdoor recreation to my list of potential career paths. Granted I change my mind so frequently lately, but it’s nice to be experiencing so many different things and opening myself up to the idea of working in fields I had never considered before.
This week is finally my last week of CTI and induction round two, and then I’ll be heading off to Petaluma for my round one project. I’m really looking forward to working with a new project sponsor and learning more about wetland restoration. As always, I’ll keep you all posted on my adventures!
Check out my updated list: https://thirtysixgoals.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/my-thirty-six-goals/