This I Believe

Natalie - West Lafayette, Indiana
Entered on February 23, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

Diving In

I believe in jumping off diving boards. If you enter the pool slowly, the cold water may scare you away. When you dive off the diving board, you attack the water and make it your own.

I remember the long days of summer during my childhood. Back then thought it was easier to creep into the pool slowly. After a quick test of the temperature, I realized the pool was about fifty degrees too cold just to walk into. There I was, mesmerized and paralyzed by the swirling, chlorinated water. Then I spotted the diving board. It called to me with all its algae-covered wonder. I stepped on, curled my toes over the edge, and decided to jump in. What did I have to lose? The rush of cold water was a shock but I immediately hopped on the board and dove in again. Although diving into a pool is not something I do on a daily basis, I realized I can’t just allow the water to come to me. In order to live I need to jump right in.

In high school the first experience I had diving into something new was joining the cross-country and track teams. At first, I had no clue what I was getting into. The water around me was cloudy but eventually I surfaced. My coach was a huge part of that development. Through victories and defeats, he trusted me to lead a team and taught me what being an athlete really means. I lost him, one of my best friends, to cancer a year ago. Taking the plunge into cross-country and track changed my life and I can only imagine what I would have missed.

I dove headfirst into the unknown of love, as well. With my first love inevitably came my first broken heart. If shyness had overtaken me, I would never have known the tears and recovering process that makes a present happiness that much sweeter. My own awareness of my emotions and trusting others grew immensely. Even though I hit the side of the pool on my way down, it took courage to even try out love and has made me a stronger person.

The experience of diving into a pool is very frightening. You see the bottom, but the moving water that separates it from you makes you wonder what you’re really setting yourself up for. Every day of your life presents you with opportunities for new activities and new relationships. It is up to you to judge how you will enter life and all its courses – cautiously or diving right in. I know my choice… this I believe.