I used to be terrified of haunted houses. I used to also be afraid of the ridicule I might receive from my friends when they found out that I was terrified of haunted houses. But, not anymore. I’ve learned how to jump in anyway, even if it means making some adjustments.
The Haunted House
Where I grew up in Puyallup, Washington, every September we would have the state fair. Our fair was the 5 largest fair in the entire country. We would actually get time off of school to go there. Pretty awesome! It was open for a whole month. I saw my first live pop concert in the stadium, at the Puyallup fair. The Jets. Anyone remember them?
I had grown up my whole life, saying, “No” to the haunted house ride. Every time my friends would go, they’d try to talk me into hopping on the ride with them. Instead, I stood outside, all by myself, maybe have an Elephant Ear or something.
I Cringed as I Settled My Heart
Finally, about the end of middle school, a boy I liked was tagging along with my group of friends at the fair. “Let’s all go on the haunted house!,” they all shouted, as I cringed and tried to settle my pounding heart. But, this time, I dug deep. I decided to jump in anyway. I mustered all the courage and could gather and soon found myself handing over my orange paper tickets and climbing onto the slowly moving buggy.
Into the darkness we went. But, it ended up being particularly dark for me because… I CLOSED MY EYES THE ENTIRE RIDE! I heard the sounds, the screeches, the cackles, and the bursts of laughter from the guy sitting next to me. But, I didn’t feel a single bit of fear or terror.
We hopped off the ride and everyone asked me how much I liked it. “It was great,” I said… with a secret giggle inside my chest, knowing that I had gotten away with something.
Jump in Anyway
Over the years, I’ve slowly been able to peak open my eyes a little bit at a time. But, one thing I know now is that sometimes, even when we are afraid, we can jump in anyway. Maybe even something we don’t feel ready for. But, once we are all in, then we can make adjustments. Sometimes that means we’ll close our eyes, and sometimes that means we will take it all in, but the growth and the change only happen when we hand over the ticket and hop into the moving buggy and go.
Don’t Wait Fourteen Years…
What is your next big thing that you are being asked to, or decided to do? Don’t wait fourteen years, like I did. Just jump in anyway. Hop onto that ride and figure it out as you go a long. Although it feels a way more comfortable to sit on the outside of the ride and wait for your friends, practice challenging yourself, digging deep for courage and taking that next right step. Just invite fear along for the ride. Even if that means, closing your eyes through the entire ride. You won’t always… but, until then… it’s totally fine.