I stood on the rough rock, bare-footed, bikini-clad and 30 feet above the water's surface. Kentucky woods surrounded me, a voice behind me prodding me forward, a younger girl to my side contemplating the same jump. After a few more moments of reluctance, the voice walked behind me starting back through the woods the way we came to return the easy way to the water, beckoning me to follow.
In that moment, younger-girl jumps, and without warning, I found myself leaping forward too.
It quickly became obvious I hadn't done anything to prepare for this epic leap. No walk-throughs, or awkward "so how do you land?" I'd never cliff-jumped before, not even off a smaller rock. And those things that come second-nature to people through adrenaline, don't exist in me. I start doing the exact opposite, not really on purpose.
My body leans back, my arms flinging in circles as if to catch my fall. Instead of keeping straight and landing feet first, I fall in a v straight on my caboose, 30-feet of falling pressure shooting up my spine. After removing an epic wedgy, I gasp above the surface, fine-ish, while everyone else seems very concerned.
I had obviously bombed this jump. In every way. I'm thankful to not have been worse off. Although the epic butt-, back- and head-ache that lingered the rest of the day seemed lesson enough.
A lesson in preparing. It may not have made the jump any less scary or hard to do. But it absolutely would have softened the blow. Maybe been a little less painful. Maybe I would have wanted to do it again?
Probably not. But, I jumped off 10-foot rocks the next day pain-free and with ease, and it was actually fun. So I learned a lesson in failing: Preparation prevents failure. Or at least softens the blow.
PS, the photo is jumping off a bridge in high school (I'm on the left), not my epic cliff-jumping failure from college.
Answer in the comments:
Can you recall a time when a little preparation would have prevented an epic failure?
Day 20 of 31 Lessons from an Epic Beginner