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Standing On The Edge...

This last year brought me to the edge. After almost 20 years as an educator and a coach in the same small, private school; I now find myself mourning what came before while also excitedly standing on the edge of what my life may become now. It has made me realize how complex my relationship is with being on the edge and taking risks.

It is terrifying on the edge. I am extremely scared of heights. My stomach drops and my knees get weak when I do so much as climb beyond the second step on a ladder. Bridges and high stair rails can paralyze me. My fear in these moments is very powerful and real.

The edge also exhilarates me. I ride roller coasters for the feeling I get as I hover over the nothingness of the first big drop and I zip line for the brief moment of free fall as I step off of the platform. My joy in these moments is overwhelming and incredibly freeing.

We may not all be afraid of heights, but I think the edges we come to bring with them an intersection of fear and joy that can change our lives. Perhaps our fear is overwhelming as we stand on the edge because we cannot wrap our minds around where we are going to land and what we may have become when we do. There have been so many times in my life where I knew stepping into the unknown was the right choice but I was too scared to do it because I couldn’t see the landing. So I didn’t. I do not know if my fear kept me safe in those moments or kept me from experiencing something beautiful, but I suspect it was the latter.

While listening to a recent podcast by Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown, I heard Brené say something that I will never forget. The conversation was about taking risks to pursue your passions and her words were, “I don’t leap or jump for the landing. I leap for the experience through the air because you can’t predict the landing. When you get to the place where standing on the edge is more painful than risking a failure, I think you owe it to yourself and the world to leap!”

This is why I am currently sitting in Cairo, Egypt thousands of miles away from my family and my past. I was looking out over the unknown of where my life was going, agonizing about all of the risks and possible landings, and then I realized that I want to live my life “through the air” instead of looking over the edge. I bought the plane ticket, said goodbye to my comfort zone, and jumped.

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