As I write this I’m sitting in the car waiting for Em & Alan to complete the Grafton Zipline Adventure in Grafton, Illinois. For some reason I thought I could conquer my fear of heights and hanging from cables (I really prefer not to ride ski lifts or gondolas). I don’t know if its the hanging from the cable part I hate or the twisting in the wind that freaks me out, regardless, I’m not a fan. Maybe it really comes down to a fear of falling or not being in control. It would take to many years of therapy to figure it out so we’ll just go with all of the above.
When I arrived at Grafton Zipline Adventure this morning, with Em & Alan in tow, I had myself 100% convinced that I would be able to lay this fear to rest and I did, to an extent. Well, maybe not laid to rest so much as just accepted it as part of who I am. I kept telling myself “you can endure anything for 30 seconds” (the longest zip time).
The first two zip lines I tolerated…maybe not enjoyed, but I kept thinking “I have this, I can do this….” Then I arrived at the third line, 1,000 feet long and I’m hooked up to the cable and the gal pushes me off and it’s ok….until the wind catches me and I start to turn and sway on the cable. I arrive at the end and my legs damn near give out from under me and I have to sit down. Fear has taken a firm grip on me and it’s not letting go.
The next line is the longest and highest at 2,000 feet long and 250 feet above the ground. Ideally, you are suppose to run down a platform and go zipping across the hollow, however, the guide will give you a gentle nudge if needed. The family ahead of us goes, Em goes, then it’s my turn. I know this is the point where I have to decide if I’ll be able to complete the next 6 lines or if this is where I cry Uncle and take the “walk of shame”. I’m hooked up and I’m looking down that line and I know it’s not going to happen. Damn it. I’m either a) going to pass out, b) throw up, c) all of the above. Panic is setting in and there is no way in hell I can step off that platform.
This is a battle that I’m not going to win today, but that doesn’t mean the war is over. I offer to walk back to the office (I could have used some good hiking time to clear my head), but the guide calls for a ride so it really became the “ride of shame.” All the employees are phenomenal though. They gently encouraged me and even offered to ride tandem with me and are so freaking fantastic that I feel like I’ve not only disappointed myself, but I’ve disappointed them as well and I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to overcome this irrational fear.
I’m convinced that some fears are so deeply embedded in our psyche that maybe we can’t overcome them at all and what we really need to do is just accept that about ourselves and know that it’s really ok. I would try ziplining again and I’m convinced that I could have zipped all the other lines at Grafton, but line #4 was a deal breaker for me. I guess today was not my day to win that battle, but I fought a good fight and I’m so proud of myself for trying something that I said I would never ever do.
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