Leap

We are going camping. Yay for the outdoors! Especially where there is a little market where I can buy chocolate, firewood and possible an extra bottle of wine. But camping has left us cramped for time.

In news: Opinions were near evenly split for “Include the fiction!” and “Hey, I ordered pepperoni!” so we’re going with the fiction and I’ll sort that out next week. Appraisal should be in today (Friday) sometime, hopefully while we still have phone signal, but until then, keep those fingers crossed!

And finally, I’m re-running this piece I wrote that was published on a bloggers’ website a few months ago, but I really love it, so I’m sharing it with you. IPoMP is proud to present, “Leap.”

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There are people who jump off cliffs. Literal ones. Really big, tall cliffs into rock (and possibly shark) infested waters. Or there are people who careen down the Matterhorn in flying squirrel suits or tie heavy pieces of elastic to their ankles and jump from bridges. And let us not forget the people who leap from moving aircraft with 30 pounds of nylon fabric keeping them from an intimate and precipitous meeting with the ground.

And then there are people who jump off metaphoric cliffs. These are the kind who walk into the airport and announce that they’ll buy a ticket for the next plane leaving the tarmac. Or who decide that a career in nursing doesn’t do it for them, and now they want to learn how to use a loom (or vice versa).

I don’t typically think of myself as either of that sort. I certainly have never sought any activity that puts me any more subject to the whims of gravity and terminal velocity than falling off the treadmill would. And I’ve never hopped into a stranger’s car on a whim for an epic road trip to Vegas.

But a few times in my life, I have leapt. I leapt to college – moneyless – with no thought other than a desperate need to create an existence for myself where moneyless could be a thing of the past. I leapt to a life Europe, with my husband and five-year-old in tow, because I had never had that sort of adventure before and I couldn’t stand the thought of never having one. And last year I leapt again in quitting my high-paying health-care director job to take a part-time position so I could start my own company.

Why? Where do these compulsions come from?

I believe that there is a certain kind of leap (both of the metaphoric and literal type) that has to do with a need for adrenaline, but that’s not me. I get adrenaline rushes when a new episode of Divine Design is on, I don’t need anything headier than that.

Mine comes from impasse. All of them have. Mine come from feeling like the road that I am on simply does not lead anywhere I want to go, and perhaps in some cases a lurking dread that it goes nowhere at all. It has each time involved an inner self spinning in circles looking for an alternate trail, track or footpath that can shift my trajectory towards brighter vistas. Or greener pastures. Or over the rainbow. If I actually reach that somewhat desperate point I’m typically pretty flexible about the destination.

And so…a leap.  The kind that some people would find startling. “You’re moving where?” or, “You’re quitting why?” (Although I still don’t think they rank with jumping out of planes.)

But I do believe that each of us has one day stood in a place where we could not see our own shadow any longer and wondered what it would take to create enough light to outline it clearly again. And I believe that in those times we realize that the illumination we seek comes from daring and from courage, and cannot be found in complacency or habit.  These are the moments where we leave the bad relationship, quit the dead-end job, take the once-in-a-lifetime vacation, abandon the unhealthy lifestyle, lop off the hair, get the tattoo, say yes to the smoky-eyed man at the library, or undertake the heart-stopping adventure. Small or large they are powerful-legged leaps to that which is new and unknowable. And in the catch of breath when we realize that we can’t quite see our landing point, our shadows greet us again. Waving. Exhilarated.

This post happily linked to the “Best Written Post” blog-hop at The Red Dress Club.

23 comments

    1. Leap is one of my faves. Not sure why.

      And the wine was excellent. The camping was excellent too, but the wine made it excellenter. (which is now a word cause I say it is.)

  1. I’ve never had a smoky-eyed man at the library. Now I want one. Fiance isn’t going to like this. If you’ve personally had a smoky-eyed library man, I want that to be a blog post soon. Vicariously.

    In other news, this was fantastic. I had goosebumps when I was reading it, which means it’s good. I usually only get goosebumps from Tom Robbins.

    Camp your little heart out, but don’t feed the bears!

    1. I’m so glad you liked it. It’s always been one of my favorites. And if Tom Robbins gives you goosebumps, that means you have EXCELLENT taste!

      And I think you and Fiance need to role play fantastically-brilliant-law-student meets smoky-eyed-mystery-man at the library.

      Get some fake glasses. Men are suckers for hot, smart girls in glasses. ;)

  2. I love this post. very timely for me. I am toying with the idea of a leap. peeking over the edge to see how far down I could fall. Will I safely land over there in opportunity-ville or will I fall down there to jobless, moneyless, budget-killing despair? Will I be happy over there or should I stay here with ‘comfort’? I like this leap talk lately. And I have been pulling for you and your recent leap. And? have fun camping. Take bug spray. That is the lesson I learned.

    1. Someone re-tweeted this the other day and I almost broke out a sharpie marker and wrote it on my wall (except the appraiser was coming and that seemed like a bad idea): Sometimes you have to jump and grow your wings on the way down.

      They are so scary, these leaps. Sometimes simply because we do not land where we thought we would. But, we typically always land, feet intact, somewhere better eventually.

      And holy cow, the BUGS! Mosquitos the size of military helicopters! Seriously!

  3. My husband just quit his job to go back to school. Some people congratulate him and think it’s great that he’s following a new path. Others look at him like is crazy, you can see them biting back what they want to say “You are leaving a perfectly good job to go to SCHOOL and you have a family to support.”
    Then they assume that I am going to work. To which I say “huh?”

    1. “Huh?” Or “Pardon me?” or “Did you know your nose looks larger in this light?” Are the appropriate responses to anyone who makes an inappropriate assumption about a life which is not theirs.

      If you and husband think this is right for you and will lead you to brighter pastures, then the only two opinions that matter have weighed in.

      Go husband!!

      Is he studying French poetry? That would be romantic.

  4. I just lost my job yesterday. Fired.

    I had honestly planned to quit, and was miserable at it, but I was also the best for it.

    I just figured out this morning that I was fired because the position was written out of a new contract with the company, not because I sucked at it. Because by god I rocked it. My boss thought it easier financially to try to tell me I suck at it and fire me rather than re-assign me.

    But reading that post reminded me that…who cares? I love being spontaneous and I have dealt with worse before. Everything happens for a reason.

    So thanks Lori. I needed that reminder.

  5. Ah, so good.

    I feel like I may have a leap coming soon. Mine have a tendency to build and build until even I am surprised that I actually jumped.

    We’ll see.

    And I think you are the best and bravest. All of your leaps sound wonderful.

    1. I have been happy with all of them…although I do not know if this particular leap is going to land me where I planned. But, I still leapt out of something not good for me. So it will be worth it in the end.

      And….now I wanna know what your maybe-leap is. Tellemetellmetellmetellme!

  6. There are smoky eyed men at libraries? Who knew?
    I want to leap. I want it to be a beautiful ballet jete with an arabesque thrown in for the wow factor. But alas my leaps look more like a stumble, which I catch at the last minute as I narrowly make it to the other side. No matter, as long as I get some air I don’t care about the style factor. What a great post. You are a writer my friend. You see I stayed and read until the bitter end without a picture in sight. This you should take as a wonderful compliment, as I have the attention span of a three year old. Domestic ADD is very debilitating. I think your post may have cured me.
    You Are Amazing. Plus you camp. An amazing leaping camper! I’m in awe. (of course she lived in Europe, like I didn’t see that coming…)
    Dana

    1. In my world there are smoky eyed men at all libraries.

      And I didn’t realize that you had non-photo-post ADD. I never even noticed. Maybe *I* have ADD.

      And I’m so glad you liked this one. :)

  7. I hope you have a fabulous time camping and I hope that your little ones don’t keep you up crying all night and climb all over you in an attempt to sleep. Oh, right, your little ones are great big, so that would be even worse for you than it was for me!

    I love this piece. I’ve taken leaps of various heights in my life, but I haven’t ever regretted them. They have given my life texture and meaning. Earlier this week I took another leap and decided to get involved in my children’s school in a way that I never thought I would. We shall see where it takes me.

    1. No, I make the big ones sleep WAY OVER THERE in the big tent so I don’t get stomped on. That would definitely make me cranky!

      And leaps tend to pay off, I’ve noticed. I don’t mean the people who are perpetually leaping because they have no awareness of how to stay still. That’s not a leap, that’s a flake. But for those of us who work hard, offer commitment and give generously, those leaps are invaluable. They bring us to places that all those things – the work, the committment and the giving – sometimes keeps us from seeing.

      I celebrate each leap you have taken!!

  8. can’t believe I found you via a random link on Twitter, when I’m just further down that list of links over at TRDC. crazy ol’ world.

    this is an amazing post, and I’m so glad I read it tonight. Beautifully expressed, and a powerful kick-in-the-seat for peeps like me who are SO worried about leaping.

    having said that: some leaps aren’t for the taking. Some leaps are into shark-infested waters, and I recently decided that no matter how exhilarating the jump would be, the trip down? the landing would be a bitch. So… there’s that kind of leap too.

    1. I’m glad you found me too! I love being found.

      And that’s a funny coincidence because I didn’t have any idea that blog hop existed before this afternoon.

      And I agree…not all leaps are leaps, some are insane and dangerous.

      But sometimes the leap is the only way and we find – when we need to take them – that we are stronger than we think.

      I hope the leaps that compel you are all wonderful!

  9. I love this. Since dealing with peri-maybe-no-yes-its-here menopause for the past two years, my mantra has been “no fear” (yeah, cliched I know). Somehow in the swirl of hormones, I realized that many (most?) of my big decisions were steered by fear. Taking fear out of the equation has made so much so easier to figure out.

    Cut the fear; take the leap. . . .

    1. Exactly!

      And I am often paralyzed by fear too – I have a strong need for security and letting go of the certainty is difficult.

      But I found it often so hard to get places that way.

      I love that: “Cut the fear, take the leap.”

      Perfect.

  10. One of my improv teachers always said “Leap and a safety net will appear” Of course in that case the safety net was the rest of my classmates/scene partners.

    But it still applies. Sometimes we just have to leap and trust ourselves (or others)

    1. I think you (and your improv teacher) are very wise.

      We can’t always know what happens next, and if we always decide to wait until we know…

      …think of all things we might miss.

  11. Okay, so it could be the hormones, it’s weepy week at MoMP, but I’m sitting here, tears streaming down my face at words like impasse and dead-end job, because that’s where I am. I’m losing my sense of purpose of self, and I’m so damn scared of moneyless and what it would represent for my family.

    But it’s time to take matters in hand, isn’t it?

    Thanks, Lori. Just… thanks.

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