Circa 2007, I set off to Jinja with a few friends for a day of thrills and frills, whose main event was a 47m suicidal plunge into the river. This mission to defy our very own mortality was an idea that had been planted into our young impressionable minds by the fad that is television and social media; the images of wild charismatic individuals screaming their way off the plank and into free-fall were pasted onto the galleries of our minds and we were tired of living that experience vicariously. It was time to make it our own.
Alas, when all was said and done, when we got to stare death squarely in the eye, at the point when boys were separated from men, only 2 out of the group of 5 made it for the jump. The others were terrified out of their minds, fear had ensnared them and suddenly their youthful exuberance and hunger for adventure had been devoured by angst.
Not to say that the two of us who made it were fearless (yes I was one of the two), but in that moment fear is all that stood between us and what was to become a remarkable tale.
My faceoff with fear at the bungee was real. As i climbed up that steel contraption to the top, the ground below me fading into the distance and the Nile and its waters now looking even more ferocious, a big part of me questioned my sanity with every other step I took. Fear engulfed me. I visualized my death; I wasn’t sure what would kill me first. It was eminent that I would scream so loud on the way down, that my brain would literally fall out of my head and through my open mouth. Then of course at the time I was a horrible swimmer and drowning was a real possibility seeing as even protracted sessions in bath tubs scared me. If I did survive the afore mentioned scenarios, then there were the lurking giant crocodiles, waiting below to snap off my not so small head (a decent meal for the lucky crocodile) and send my headless body springing back into the air.
I had my legs firmly fastened with the bungee cord and after the handlers had tried their very best to reassure me about my safety, answering the endless barrage of questions about what’s the worst that can and had happened, I was knocking at what seemed to be death’s door. It took three attempts to get me to jump over and I am convinced that I came this close to being pushed over the edge, but alas, I jumped.
What a feeling it was! For a brief instance in life, I knew what I felt like to fly and I loved it! The feeling of the wind against my face as I leapt through the air was amazing. It was a truly exhilarating experience. I had conquered my fear!
At the time and so is still the case, fear was an ever present emotion in times of uncertainty. Fear however should not serve to deter you, but to protect you. To spur your mind and your instincts into a state of defense from danger. Fear serves to keep you on your toes and not to set you fleeing in terror. Fear should not be the feeling that keeps you from living your dream, but rather it must shake you into a state of real and tangible awareness of what it will take to attain that dream and thereafter plan for it.
So what are you afraid of? Use that fear to help you get to the other side of your aspiration; whatever it may be.
Fear should never scare you…..unless of course it’s the fear of being subjected to a lifetime behind the wheel of an adult sized toy car erstwhile known as a Vitz ! That, my friend, is a scary proposition.