This weekend I went to Belchamps Campsite in Essex for a reunion with my old friends from 13th Southend Guides. We had a great weekend and it was so lovely to see some of my old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen for 18 years! We had some of the current guides along with us and did some of the activities provided by the campsite – which are much more numerous than when I used to go there!
On Saturday morning we went to have a go at ‘traversing’. When I was a Guide and Ranger I had a very adventurous spirit and would try anything, relish the challenge and I was a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Now, 15 odd years later I have lost some of that daredevil attitude, I have become scared of heights and a lot less confident and that saddens me. So on Saturday morning I resolved to give this ‘traversing’ a go – not really knowing what it was.
We got there and I was given one of those horrible harnesses to wear along with a helmet and sat next to the 11 year old Guides as we awaited instruction. I watched a number of the girls go first along the course and the more I watched, the more I thought ‘I don’t think I can do this!’ I resolved, however, to give it a go, in the back of my mind thinking I’d probably give up after the first step – the walk along the pole. Here I’ve drawn on a photograph the route that we had to take. This is a picture from the other side of the rig (on the other side of the telegraph poles were big staples that you could climb up).
It finally came to my turn and I realised, after watching everyone else climb up, that what was important was my attitude. Physically I definitely could do it, it was mentally that I needed to convince myself. Up I went and the first part wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared, so I continued. I nearly gave up at the end of the second crossing but then decided that I should push myself further. The final traverse was a real challenge and took me a long time. Swapping the ropes was really difficult, as was letting go at each step. Finally though, I got to jump off and was gently winched down to the ground. I felt really elated. So delighted that I had done it and that I’d overcome my fears.
How often are our lives like this? Often we imagine things are going to be much worse than they are. Often we are held back by what we think might happen rather than the reality. We rarely regret taking risks – so why not take more of them?
Here endeth the lesson! I’m writing this more to remind myself than anything else!