Take the Plunge

160_F_108333323_jyC13J84jfdvYPC6h33llnjJ14NfsJtRI realized the other day that my way of getting into a pool for the first swim of the day mirrored the way I do other things in my life. It takes me FOREVER to get up the nerve to “take the plunge” and I wondered what else I was putting off, drawing out and taking WAY too long to do.

Maybe you know the type. I start by putting my feet into the water, then stop, as if someone has stung me with a Taser gun. The sudden shock of the ice-cold water is too much, so I stand there for awhile, let my skin get used to the new temperature, then lower a little further. Now the water is only up to my knees. I feel the chill down to my bones and my body and mind are having difficulty dealing with the goose bumps developing on the surface of my skin. I lower some more. Now I am only up to my mid-thighs. My mind knows the outcome is always the same. In the end I cannot avoid taking the plunge. I eventually get my entire body into the water, but only after a very long drawn out fifteen minutes of this tedious SUBMERSION-BY-BODY-PART exercise. And then I do it. I muster up all my courage and dive, dive, dive, submerging my face, hair and head into the abyss. It takes my breath away and my heart races for a few seconds – and then it’s over.

I am now free to enjoy the reason I love the pool, the PAYOFF of that excruciating, drawn-out process. I can finally enjoy the weightlessness, the freedom to do laps, or to just be playful. I can finally soak up the sun while floating on my back, doing the breast stroke or just bobbing up and down like a mindless buoy.

So I ask myself, “Where else in my life am I avoiding “taking the plunge”? Where else could I get a huge payoff in just fifteen minutes?

Here’s my list:

1) Get my flu shot – the prick of the needle lasts all of one second; flu season lasts months
2) Get my annual mammogram – the pain of having my breasts flattened is so little compared to the peace of mind the test results will provide
3) Meditate – science shows that just fifteen minutes of meditation a day can change brain waves reducing stress and wear and tear on the body
4) Go over and meet the new neighbors – the minimal awkwardness will be so worth it once the introductions are made and a friendly hello is offered to people new to the community
5) Get out and walk –Fifteen minutes of fresh air, a walk around the block, can change our mindset and increase endorphins
6) Write a note to a friend – connecting with others and letting them know we’re thinking of them takes so little time, but has a huge payoff.

Just fifteen minutes. I am ready to face my fears and take the plunge. I believe the ripples I will make will have a positive effect on me, and the world around me.