I could enter the water however I chose; switching freely from the forms of a cannonball, to a can opener, to a pencil, I reflected that old refrain that anything is possible.
Not only that, the possibility seemed endless. Once submerged, my limbs would return to their natural position, and I was free again – I could hoist myself upon dry land, hike up my trunks, and try something new.
Unfortunately, this belief is short lived. The wide expanses of the possible gradually begin to narrow.
This is through no fault of our own. It happens when we get older. The dreams of being an astronaut usually flitter away by third grade.
At some point, we become aware of our capabilities and, even more so, of our limitations.
In my case, for whatever reason, I could not actually dive off the diving board. I would try, but I could never get past an inclined flail.
So, I swore off diving entirely. It was not within my realm of possibility. Flips looked cooler anyway. The successes of life are balanced by the hard-wrought lessons and failures.
Once you enter college, you have a healthy and general understanding of what you are good at and what you are not.
At the same time, that refrain seems to echo again. It is a fainter and more refined echo, but it still gives you that sense of the possible.
It is like being on the diving board again. You can jump into a major, swim around for a bit, towel off, and then jump into another.
However, this can only be done a certain amount of times. Possibility begins to narrow again. College opens many doors, but you can only go through one.
After your last jump, you will emerge, and you will find yourself confined to a swimming lane.
Hopefully, that lane will be a job. In any case, you will have little else to do but swim to and fro for the rest of your life.
A number of us are at that fateful point. Our toes are wrapped around the edge, we are bobbing up and down, and we are moments away from springing forth.
All that remains is to choose that final jump. But, what to choose?
You could go for something dramatic and make one huge last splash, or say “to hell with it” altogether and belly flop. I recommend the dive.
That seems foolish to suggest since I failed at it so completely, but I now recognize what I did wrong.
It’s not that it wasn’t possible for me. I just thought about it too much.
While I was midair, angling myself headfirst, I would catch sight of the water and instantly doubt my ability. I tried to retract my movements to avoid injury, but this would only result in flailing.
When done correctly, the dive is a graceful and rewarding way to go out. It takes guts to go headfirst into something.
If you do go headfirst, be sure not to think about it, or at the very least, don’t let your thoughts turn into doubts; otherwise, you are going to look like an idiot when you hit the water.