I love working with young children. Fearless wee humans, who are willing to give just about anything a go. From climbing structures twice as tall as themselves, to speeding down a steep hill on a bike, or searching for bugs. We are born brave, but at some point, we become afraid, and we let that fear stop us.
As a child, I don’t really remember being afraid of anything (except dinosaurs, thanks to my older cousin deciding Jurassic Park was an appropriate movie for a 5 year old to watch. He now has young daughters of his own and I’m awaiting my chance to babysit and let them watch it). The dark didn’t scare me. I used to have no issues climbing trees and up high playgrounds. I’d even sit dangling my legs out my second story window (to my parents horror and neighbours horror). But by the time I’d reached my teens, I had somehow developed a fear of heights.
I remember being about 7 years old and going up the Sky Tower for the first time. I couldn’t wait to stand and jump on the glass floors. Now, that would literally be one of my worst nightmares. I guess it’s all part of growing up – as we get older we lose that sense of being indestructible. We realise we aren’t immortal. We start playing safe and stop taking risks.
Last year, I decided I wanted to overcome my fear of heights in the most epic way - a bungy jump with AJ Hackett in Queenstown. Once I’d made the decision and locked in a date, I started overthinking it, getting myself more and more worked up. Someone told me I needed to dive into the jump. I can’t dive. I am the belly flop queen. My irrational thought process was “OMG I CAN’T DIVE I’M GOING TO DO IT WRONG AND DIE.” I started having nightmares. Come the morning of the jump, I couldn’t eat. I felt sick.
But I did it (check out my video here). And it was exhilarating. I couldn’t stop shaking but I was so proud of myself for doing something so completely out of my comfort zone. Will I do it again? To be honest, probably not. But never say never right? My friends at AJ Hackett seem to think jumping off the Auckland Sky Tower is a good idea…
I’m not saying that everyone should go jump off a bridge or building (attached to a bungy, of course) or be overly reckless. Just do something that challenges you and takes you out of your comfort zone. Take a risk. Embrace that childhood sense of adventure.