So I went to Brownstone Adventure Park with my family. The park offers lots of things to jump off, climb, and swim through. My entire body was sore the next day, even my left eyelid (I’ll explain).
Our first activity was a zip line beginning on an 80-foot cliff and ending in a quarry lake. Two parallel lines stood about 20 feet apart, so two people zipped at once. My seven-year-old, Sarah, and I were the first of our group to harness ourselves to the lines.
Watching her little harnessed body stand on the cliff, her face a mask of absolute uncertainty, was terrible. What am I doing? I thought. It is eight stories down. So I said:
Me: What am I doing? It is eight stories down.
Bored teenager in charge of our safety: You’re jumping off an 80-foot cliff.
Me: [panicking internally] What if I can’t do this? How can I possibly expect a seven-year-old to do this? What if I go and she doesn’t? What if she goes and I don’t? All this for a stupid blog?
Bored teenager: One, two, three, go!
Probably because there was a line of people behind me, I stepped off, and amazingly, so did she. For a split second, I plummeted to my death. But then the harness caught me, and the ride was…lovely. Absolutely lovely. I spun around a bit, admiring the beautiful scenery and my smiling kick-ass daughter.
I wish it had lasted longer, and I wish we had done it twice. Next time.
Next on my list was the cliff jump, which looked kind of lame from a distance. It wasn’t that high–a paltry 30 feet.
After we climbed our way through various floating obstacles (none of which I mastered, despite much clenching of muscles and wiggling about in my bathing suit – attractive!), we arrived at the cliff jump. I was still unimpressed. But the ever intrepid Sarah wanted to jump off the 20-foot cliff next to it, so I got in line.
The panic hit when I was third in line. I didn’t pay much attention. My brain said the jump was lame, and I preferred that assessment to what my jumpy stomach knew.
When I stepped to the cliff edge, I looked down. Holy moly!
I was still looking after the lifeguard said, “Ok, go!” An invisible hand held me back, and I was glad to have someone sensible in charge. This looked like a bad decision.
Me: [whining] Will it hurt?
Lifeguard: [smacking gum] Neh.
Meanwhile, Sarah had already jumped once, smiling all the way down, and was in line to jump again.
Feeling physically sick but not willing to cede all bragging rights to Sarah, I jumped. Here is what I thought on the way down:
Where is the water?
Where is the water?
Where is the—[Splash!]
They tell you to keep your legs straight and locked together and your arms at your side so the water won’t bruise you. What they don’t tell you is that the force of the impact gives your face an enema. My left eyelid turned inside out when I hit. Ouch.
So what did I learn from my little adventures? Thirty feet with no harness is way
scarier than 80 feet with a harness. Sarah, who is reluctant to exert herself most days, turned out to be one BAMF. I can push past nauseating physical fear instead of being stopped by it. And finally, after the adrenaline rush comes exhaustion.