Short Story – On the High Dive of Life (By Lynn Long)

I have many fond memories of my childhood summers spent at the local swimming pool. To me, the pool was a magical place where I would spend countless hours in play, splashing the day away with my friends. I can still remember the feel of the warm sun against my skin as I floated in the cool water, lost in thought. It was truly wonderful! However, there was this one area of the pool which I was not a fan of, and that was the dreaded high dive. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about; it made no sense to climb up something so high, only to jump back down again. In all honesty, the drop down terrified me, and, although there were a few times when I attempted to make it all the way to the edge, I would inevitably always climb back down and tell my friends: “No thank you. It’s not for me.”

So… from the safety of the shallow end, I would watch as, one after another, my peers would take the plunge. I could see the look of joyous anticipation on their faces and hear their screams of delight as they fell into the water below. There was a part of me that was secretly envious, though I never let on.

Years later, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to conquer my fear. That day, as I made my way to the top of the diving board, a flood of mixed emotions suddenly overcame me. Excitement, anxiety — I was giddy, and nervous at the same time… Was it because I was doing something so completely out of my comfort zone? Or was it perhaps the idea of embarking on a new adventure without knowing what to expect? After all, anything could happen during the fall…

I was hesitant, but when I finally reached the top of the high dive, a panic I had not anticipated, crept over me. I couldn’t move, no matter how I much I tried. I just stood there — frozen in time. And then, I heard a tiny voice behind me inquire: “Hey lady, are you jumping in?” I turned around and saw a small girl, maybe five or six years old at the most, impatiently waiting for me to make up my mind. As you can imagine, I felt very silly at the moment, but before I could further think it through, she asked: “Would you like me to give you a push?” I found myself nodding yes, and replying: “If you wouldn’t mind, please…” And with that, down I went.

It was so very scary and amazing all at the same time. A feeling of euphoria filled my being as I fell into the water. Resurfacing anew, I laughed, excited to give it another go, but this time around, all on my own. As I climbed back up, the little girl with the tiny voice gave me a big high-five and said: “See you below!”

On the high dive of life, there really is only one way to go, and that is… down. Whether we choose to jump down into the deep abyss below, or climb down the ladder to the safety and security of where we’ve always been, the choice is entirely ours. Sometimes, though, we find ourselves teetering on the edge, paralyzed with fear, unable to jump, yet unwilling to go back. We are stuck in this limbo. It is in those moments where we may seek our inner-strength, and challenge ourselves to take a leap of faith — to spread our wings and feel the wind as we fly into the great unknown.

Recently, life has presented me with such a challenge, and a choice to make. Once again, I find myself teetering on the edge… but I am reminded by that tiny voice… “Are you jumping in?” And while there is a part of me that wants to say: “No thank you, I’ve changed my mind,” and turn back to make my way down the ladder, there is the other voice in me saying: “You got this.” So instead, I take a deep, peaceful breath, and remember… life is an adventure. One worth taking the plunge for.

“See you below!”


Written by Lynn Long  Ed. by James Jabbour

Author Bio: - James Jabbour (edited "On the high dive of life")