This weekend is a journey to small town USA – otherwise known as Ludlow VT. A jaunt that I didn’t want to take because I was too busy and too jaded to be away from it all. My bff owns a condo here and she invited us. After much deliberation I decided to break down and go with hubby and youngest.
This afternoon we went to a rope swing. How much more quaint can you get than that? A rope that leads to a lake. Very Norman Rockwell. I thought I was going to watch the kids have fun. Instead, I got a lesson on life — on facing your fears — or being comfortable enough in your skin not to.
There are thrill seekers and there are those who play it safe and there are those who fall somewhere in the middle. I know that I am not a thrill seeker, and I am quite comfortable in that knowledge. Never was — never will be. I am a thrill seeker in other ways, but not in the physical thrill seeking kind of way.
I don’t do rides that dip (I once freaked out on Epcot’s Norway exhibit). I’ve never been on Space Mountain and the thought of bungee jumping or sky diving make me ill. I don’t climb mountains or ski, snow or water. I can get up and talk in front of 1,000 people, but that physical thrill seeking just isn’t my cup of tea. But I digress…
So off we went with 5 teenagers: 3 thrill seekers, 1 middle of the road, and 1 play it safer. C, the bravest of the thrill seekers and only boy present (my son – a play it safer, chose to go hiking rather than have to say he didn’t want to swing) quickly took the rope and swung right in. He continued to do so until his twin sister A took the rope, hesitated a bit, and away she went. Thrill seeker #3 (K), who had never swung before, took the rope….. hesitated a bit, and decided she wasn’t ready. She handed off to her sister N who is middle of the road (although I didn’t know it at the time, I figured she was just like the other 3). N hesitated, swung, but didn’t let go and swung back, barely missing a tree, and gave the rope back to her sister K. K took the rope, swung and away she went. Exhilerated, she was hooked. This gave N the courage to go, swing and as she let go of the rope, held her nose and went into the water.
In the meantime, C, getting braver with each swing, was twisting and diving off of the rope into the water. K also started twisting with gusto, and A followed suit, although a bit more reserved. N just did her swings bravely in, but had no desire to twist and turn.
(See the kids jumping here: http://www.facebook.com/louisedicarlo)
Each one of them clearly demonstrating their outlooks on life by the way they approached the water. I asked the oldest M why she wouldn’t go in. “Oh no Aunt Louise, I’m not sure I could hold onto the rope long enough, and I’m afraid I’d let go too soon and fall into the rocks.” I totally identified with her. Even as a child I would have never swung the rope.
The difference between now and then is that then I would have felt defeated, feeling inferior for not having the courage to face my fears and have fun like the others. Today, in fact, right now as I am typing, the adults have gone back with the kids each to have a try at it. When one adult asked if I was going to go, I thought about the fun I had watching, knew there was no way I’d do it, and thought about how inspired I was to write about it. “Nah” I said, “I think I’ll stay behind and write.” I feel good about my decision.
As a side note, M and my son went with them, both saying that they didn’t want to swing. When M came out and had on her bathing suit I asked her if she was going to try. “We’ll see Aunt Louise.” I’ll keep you posted!
Just in…. Son (who insists that I report that he has swung before) and M did not go in!!!