My eyes grew wider as their line of vision crept over the handle bars and down along the steep, narrow, wooden bike path.  It dipped down low beneath my stalled front tire and up again over a smaller hill in front of me. Kyle was up ahead waiting for me to let go of the brakes, go down the ramp, and make the jump on the other side.  His urging gaze seemed like an added pressure, daring me to go for it.  He said something to encourage me, but most of what I heard were a multitude of incessant little voices warning me of the inevitable crash that awaited me.  They were telling me that I shouldn’t try, that I should go around the jump, and that I was in over my head.

She may fall if she takes a step, but she sure can’t stay where she is.

Then I thought of the night when I stood with the same butterflies in my stomach and the same racing heartbeat three inches from a  face I should have kissed.  I remembered the same little voices taking a logical step back to tell me that my feelings were one-sided and that this was only going to cause pain.  I remembered walking away with my safety and pride while every inch of my body seemed to be pulling me back to him.

I straightened up on my bike as I made connections to a fear I was feeling in my life at that moment, the fear to move away from my home state and strike out on my own.  Shivering, I shook my head trying to simultaneously shake the feeling that I had become a coward.  “If I can go down this ramp, I can move to California,” I said to myself.  My hands wouldn’t let go of the brakes.  Then I closed my eyes and shifted to a more convicted “I can go down this ramp. I can go to California.” The next second I glided down the ramp, sped over the hill, and sailed through the air on the other side.  And I was on my way to Los Angeles.

Fear and intelligence are separated by a fine line, as are bravery and stupidity.  There are so many times when logic gets in the way of living, and the fear of being foolish trumps the need for growth.

Lately, I’ve been analyzing life I’m in and it seems as though I’ve settled into safety a little too comfortably.  Even though I am on my way to reaching my goals, I am nowhere near it.  It is obvious that I need to push my limits more.  However, the idea of pursuing my dreams full force again seems somewhat daunting.  The possibilities of rejection, seemingly wasted time, and failure weigh on my mind and paralyze me.  I am again on my bike at the top of the ramp with my hands relentlessly gripping the brakes.

We want to be our best and bravest selves. We want our lives to be full and meaningful.  We know that we will never have peace if we settle for safety.  Let’s all stop thinking about the negative possibilities that come with taking risks, and let’s start moving forward. If I had just kept pushing my pedals and gone over the hill to the ramp, there wouldn’t have been such an unnecessary long wait for the rewarding outcome of making a steep jump.  If I hadn’t paused to guess the consequences of showing my feelings, I would have instantly known what those consequences were. And just maybe, if I don’t stop to analyze where my biggest dreams might or might not take me, I will find out for sure when I realize them.