Baby Jumping: Officially the worst idea for a sport EVER. My fave is the dad holding up his little girl to watch like he’s all “If you don’t pick up your toys, you’re next!”
Highlights of our Memorial Day vacation: Rain. Rock climbing in the rain. Hail. Archery in the rain. Lightning. Horseback riding in the rain. And the coup d’etat: Leaving our third son at the cabin and not realizing it until we were on the stage at the Lodge performing our family skit and the little guy missed his cue. Oops. We made a lot of fun memories this past weekend at Camp Warren! But for my three boys the highlight was “BORP’ing.” BORP’ing (which as far as I can tell is not an acronym for anything) is where you start each day at dawn by cannonballing into the freezing lake — just to say you did. BORP all three days and you earn a polar bear pin and eternal bragging rights.
Now, I know the many virtues of cold water swimming, especially first thing in the morning. It revs your metabolism. It builds brown fat (the good fat that you want more of). It makes you smarter, stronger and have a better immune system. Not to mention that you are immediately AWAKE, no messing around the campfire in your pj pants all day. Whatever. I’m still not doing it. The first morning I watched and handed out towels. After that I stayed in bed. (All the while ignoring the research about sleeping in on weekends royally messing you up. Vacation for me = drowning out the research voices with cinnamon bears and late nights.)
It turned out that only my second son finished all his BORPs. (Perhaps “borp” describes the noise you make while doing it?) Curious as to how he’d managed this feat when I can’t even get him out of bed with warm pancakes and whipped cream, I asked him, “So how did you make yourself jump in that lake?” I kinda expected him to cite peer pressure — his best friend did it too — or the reward. (Although a cheap metal pin wouldn’t it for me. A cheap metal finisher’s medal on the other hand…) Instead, he answered, “Mom, you don’t have to make yourself jump in the lake. You just have to make yourself jump.”
Wise words for an 8-year-old. Who still thinks underwear has two usable sides.
Seriously though, how many times have you psyched yourself out of doing something you really wanted because you were so focused on the cold, murky, dark, lake below that you forgot the glory of the jump? I have. Just yesterday.
Literally: At camp they have this thing called “the pamper pole” (again, no idea what the name means — it is the least spa-like experience I have ever had) where you clip into a harness, scale a 50-foot telephone, stand up on top of it and then… jump. Your harness catches you and your teammates lower you back down to the (rain-swamped) ground. At least that’s what you’re supposed to do. I climbed that pole. And I got on the very tip top of it (while it’s swaying, I’ll wait while you imagine it and try to stop laughing and/or wetting yourself). And then I couldn’t stand up. I just could not make myself stand. There’s nothing to hold onto and even though I mentally knew I could balance well enough to straighten up, I just couldn’t do it. After “enjoying” the view for several minutes, bobbling around like a wet-cat antenna topper, I finally took a deep breath and threw myself off the top from my crouched position. It wasn’t a glorious leap. It was an ignominious fall. Same soggy end. Whole different feeling.
Figuratively: These past few weeks have been fraught with anxiety for me. Fun things are happening with my job and while I’m excited I’m also one of those people who likes to overanalyze things. I am acutely aware that by saying yes to one good opportunity I am saying no to many others. I’m the queen of second-guessing. (Yes I am. Don’t even try to de-throne me. I will whirl you in a tornado of semi-rational logic until you think a Kim ‘n’ Kanye “reality” show is exactly what this world needs right now.) Unfortunately, if you sit on the fence (er, pole) long enough the choice gets made for you and often it’s not the choice you wanted (hello, rain enema!). But if you make the jump, even if it turns out to be the wrong one you still have the knowledge and the empowerment from making the choice. (Yoda say: no wrong there is, only lessons learned. Thank you, I’ll collect my geek pin now.) Same soggy end. Whole different feeling.
Looking at the big picture is great and I’m definitely not telling you to ignore the consequences attached to your actions (you choose the beginning, you also choose the end) but there comes a point where if you keep focusing on the big stuff you become too paralyzed to act. That first step towards your goal — no matter how tiny it is — is huge. Because it gets you off the ledge.
Back at the shore, as my son turned to run after his friends he called over his shoulder. “Oh, and the lake Mom? It’s not cold at all once you’re in it!”
I need to stop thinking. I need to jump.
Bonus points for style!
Have you ever done a polar bear jump? Would you have tried the pamper pole? Are you more of a big picture thinker or are you a details person? Anyone else have a ledge they’re trying to jump off of right now too?!