Recently, I went to Jamaica with my partner for his grandad’s funeral. This doesn’t sound very daring but for me it was life changing. We have been abroad together before, but just the two of us. Going abroad with his whole family (and it’s not a small family) was daunting. It was almost like taking the next step in our relationship. I was travelling to his home country, to take part in a ceremony that would stay with him for life and I was going to meet more of family member (who he hadn’t met yet either). It was all so sudden.
We flew out to Jamaica late August. The flight was about 9 hours long but it felt like days! The closer we got to Jamaica, the more nervous I felt. This was the furthest I had been away from my family and with the threat of hurricanes and storms, it wasn’t putting my mind at ease. As we approached the landing strip, we went over the sea. It was so blue and so calming. The weather was lovely, sunny and hot! The hotel was lovely. The food…well…it was just fresh and delicious.
The actual day of the funeral was beautiful. It went perfectly from start to finish and there was a real sense of peace and community. People travelled from all over the world to say goodbye. My partner’s family was very welcoming and loving and I felt at ease. I was really starting to feel comfortable. That was until we went to The Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole is a waterfall, with a series of pools. We climbed to the very top and looked down onto the glistening water. The shades of blue and green were almost artificial. We climbed onto a ledge and the instructor told us to ‘Jump!’. Jump?? Are you crazy? A number of deadly thoughts crossed my mind. I was irrational and thought of only the worst possible scenarios. What if I hit my head on the rocks? What if I don’t come back up to the surface? Even though I was wearing a life jacket, I couldn’t see it ending well. It was so hot, that I wanted to jump into the water, but I kept making excuses as to why I couldn’t. I was stopping myself.
Eventually, I built up the courage. My partner’s cousin decided to jump with me. We held hands and leapt into the uncertainty. We didn’t know how deep it was, how cold it was, how rocky it was. We just jumped. I hit the water and as the water consumed me, I felt good. The water was cool, but refreshing. I could see the sun beaming through and swam up towards it. It was relaxing and liberating. As I swam in the cool water, I almost forgot all the worries and stress of real life. I felt as though I was in a bubble, where everything was right in the world.
The lesson I took away from that experience is that life doesn’t stop for you. If I hadn’t gone to Jamaica with my partner, he would have still gone and still had those wonderful experiences. If I hadn’t jumped into that water, others would have and I would still be on the ledge burning.
We are the biggest obstacles to our success. Looking back to at the video and pictures; the dive wasn’t even that high up. There were no rocks at the bottom and it wasn’t that deep. I came up with all the excuses blaming everything else for the lack of my success, when the only real thing stopping me was me. In life, we often blame external factors as to why we can’t accomplish what we want, but often, it is really just our minds stopping us.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to jump. If you get it wrong, you will learn a lesson. But if you get it right, you will experience something memorable. Sharing that experience with my partner has made us closer and I believe that I understand his culture more. It was also liberating for me, I feel like I can be away from my family and still not feel distant.