Diving in: courage and caution
I wonder if fish find it as refreshing to jump out of the water as many humans find it to jump in? It must be exhilarating for the water creatures to break free and launch up and out into the light, bright, air every now and then. Wouldn’t you think?
Haven’t talked to too many fish lately, but I’ll bet that leaping out of the water isn’t all about survival and merely trying to get the bugs. It sure looks a lot like play. And it must also make for a refreshing change. Picking up speed at the bottom of the lake, there are likely moments of doubt. But once they come flying out of the water and are hanging in mid air…it has got to feel good on the fins. Real good.
In any case, most people reading this likely tend to think that water feels good – especially on a hot summer day. You know how it is. Driving into the parking lot at the beach, in a car without air conditioning, you can hardly wait to get into the water.
Still, you might be a bit apprehensive when the time comes to actually step off the sandy beach and out into the cold water. At first, all you do is dip in a few toes. It takes some coaxing and friendly coercion from your friends. It takes some time. But you can only stand there staring, feeling self-conscious about what you are wearing (or not wearing), and getting heckled for so long. Getting up your nerve, you finally race out into the waves and dive in. And after getting over the initial shock, your whole body thanks you for your courageous effort.
Coming back to the surface gasping for air, and then wading back to the shore, somehow you feel more alive. You entered another world for a few moments. And you are glad you did. It felt good.
“Invigorating” is a word that comes to mind.
Water can be dangerous though, sometimes, depending on how you dive in. Attempting a one-and-a-half in the pike position, from a platform in the water, might seem like a great idea. People generally applaud enthusiasm and initiative; that is, until you land flat-out on your face in front of everybody. Smack! That hurt. Didn’t look too good either.
Speaking of embarrassing situations, if the cannonball is recognized as an official Olympic diving maneuver, be sure to look for me this summer in London, England. Bring your binoculars and a big umbrella.
Look for the bloke standing 80 feet up on the diving platform, grasping the hand rails and peering down with a look of pure terror in his eyes. Look for the unfortunate Canadian contestant who is being hustled to the edge of the precipice by some burly “friends.” Look for a crazy Canuk who is wearing a red and white wetsuit complete with a snorkel, goggles, and an old, orange motorcycle helmet. Look for the paramedics who should be pulling up to the edge of the pool about that time.
And then, if you can only take so much, look away.
Yes, it is going to take a whole lot more than an Olympic dream, skin-tight speedos, and an inspiring national anthem when imitating an asteroid about to strike the ocean on the earth. Canadian media signals may mysteriously fade during this epic performance. CBC sports commentators won’t be asking for any interviews. But at least the flag won’t be flying at half mast after the tidal wave hits and the waves subside. For I am making plans to survive the plunge.
Water, coming into contact with water, is almost always a good thing. It is something positive for so many people. It feels good. It looks good. It tastes good. It sustains life. It just wouldn’t be the same if, say, we had to drill for water and swim in oceans filled with oil.
Pursing a new career direction is a lot like preparing to dive into an inviting underwater world. You are considering an exciting and potentially very positive possibility. But, at the same time, you should be careful and even cautious as to how you go about it. Career decisions have consequences. Large decisions can have long-term implications.
So please do take a real good look before you leap.
For example, the consensus among the career counselling people is that it is generally a good idea to make a series of small decisions rather than one abrupt and major move. Doing something drastic, making a decision that is completely out of character or out of keeping with your past, is probably not the best way to go. Try, rather, to identify and then gradually move in one specific direction over a long period of time.
And yes, I suppose it would be best if I left the spectacular aquatic displays to the professional athletes and the fish after all.
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