While on a trip to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands with my husband David, we found a zip-lining excursion. We got on a tour bus that took a group out to the jungle. I was so excited and at the same time scared to death! When they strapped me into the harness and fitted me with a hard hat and thick gloves, I started having flashbacks of my tubing excursion. Oh boy! I then noticed this elderly couple and I thought ‘What in the world are they thinking?’ We walked to our first station and climbed a few steps and one by one we were hooked up to the line and instructed as they pushed us off for our first adventure.
I thought ‘So far so good’ and I actually might live through this madness. However, as we got to our next stations, the steps were higher and took far more effort to get to the top of the trees. We started noticing the elderly couple was struggling to climb to the top. They kept stopping to catch their breath and others were assisting them. I thought ‘oh my goodness, they should not be out here; it is far too dangerous for people their age.’ However, there was no way back through the jungle except the zip lines that would now carry us back at over 50 feet up and 50 miles per hour! What was I thinking!
I had noticed earlier that each of the trees where we zip-lined to, had padding on them. All I was thinking at that point was ‘Thank God’ because I might just go slamming into that tree. I flew in at the speed of light while the guides were yelling, “Slow down!” I crashed into both of them and then hit the tree. Fortunately they broke my speed enough that I was okay. David came crashing in right behind me and, much to our horror, we both stood with mouths gapping open as the older woman came screaming in! She flew right through the guards and hit the tree, face first. As she stood there hugging the tree, we totally expected to watch her slither down unconscious, but no way! She stepped back shook her head, turned around threw her arms up and yelled, “I did it!” Along came her husband with the same exact scenario, “I did it!” Everyone cheered and screamed, “Yeah!”
I was ashamed of myself for judging them and their ability and desire for adventure. Maybe it was also on their bucket list—I applaud them and their courage. That zip-lining experience was a life lesson for me in conquering fear and following my dream. Whatever you have on your bucket list, no matter how old you are—do it! You are enough—imperfections and all. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable or you may never realize your dreams. It is normal to be afraid of being exposed, but if we compromise our deepest desires out of fear of criticism, then we may lose out on an amazing future.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou