Note: I wrote this column for Leap Year 2008. I’m happy to report I’ve sort of taken a leap! Do the recent revelations about Crush Boy count? If so…YEAH! I MADE THE DEADLINE!!!
Leaping lizards. Leaps and bounds. Leaps of faith. Leap frogs.
Life offers hurdles and hurdles of leaps. There’s the literal leap you take when you’re 6 and realize jumping into the puddle of mud is fun. There’s the leap you take when you get your first job – you’re not too sure what to expect or if you’re up to the challenge, but you take the leap anyway. There’s the leap you take when you move across the country in search of your dream job, dream love or even your dream house. There’s the leap you take when, on a whim, you tell that guy how you feel, because you know if you don’t do it now, you’ll lose your cool.
And then there are leaps that somehow just find themselves in your lap. It isn’t important how it got there. It’s a free gift waiting to be opened by you. People from all walks of life will be celebrating a “free day” of sorts this Friday. An extra day so special that it only graces us with its presence once every four years.
I’ve been thinking about leaps a lot lately. When does a leap become a foolish plunge?
And can we ever really know the difference between the two, or are we destined to repeat our mistakes over and over until we get it right?
MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP…
This Leap Year rambling nonsense began with a simple painting. In my mother’s quest to inspire my sister and me, she lugged home a painting one day. The large painting, which rests on the desk in our room, is a brilliant watercolor. The young woman in the painting is posing in a pink tutu. I’m not sure of the correct name for the ballet pose, but she’s got her arm reached toward the sky and her leg stretched out behind her. A blue sky mixed with a colorful rainbow mingle together to form the background as she balances on what looks to be a ledge or the top of a mountain.
I’ve never been that person who appreciates art. Or dance for that matter. Yet this painting has taken on a life of its own for me. Some days, I’ll wander in my room for something and stare mesmerized for a few moments by that painting. It isn’t hung on the wall. It doesn’t have to be.
I’ve even given this girl in the painting a name. Amelie. Amelie takes chances. She’s not afraid of getting her feet wet – or muddy on top of that high mountain. She doesn’t sit in the dark corner and wait for fate to ask her to dance. She dances by herself. She reaches, however high, for her own mountain peak.
Isn’t life really just one giant leap after another? A chance taken. A question asked. A moment lived. A tear shed. A laugh chuckled. A risk, well, risked?
It takes a certain type of person to take the plunge. Because let’s face it: Leaping off the edge is a scary proposition. Will there be a safety net down below to catch us? It’d be so easy to back away from the fire down below, but the risk there? You’ll never feel the warm flame. And worse yet, you’ll be forever wondering “What if?” What if I’d taken the chance and put myself out there? What if I’d actually, shock, lived a little?
So this year, do something wild and crazy. Get on the road to following your dream. It’s out there, and you don’t want to have to wait another four years for the bus to come around again.
What sort of leap will I take this year? I’m still pondering that one, but I do know one thing for sure. On March 1, I won’t be sitting in my room, staring at that painting and wondering “What if?”