“I Don’t Want to Miss Anything”
My young daughter gripped the shiny metal bar at the entry to the waterslide, her lips quivering and her knuckles white.
“Hannah,” I said, my eyes locked with hers. “You know you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, right? We can do another waterslide. You can try this one again next summer.”
The lifeguard started to shift from side to side, understandably testy that we were holding up the line on a busy July day.
The tears were rolling down my girl’s freckled cheeks at this point and she was shaking harder. But her voice was sure and steady: “I am going, Mommy. Now.”
And she was gone in a flash, plunging down the vertical, 70-foot high waterslide.
I followed my brave but terrified daughter’s lead, and when I got to the bottom, I found her standing there, legs shaking, tears still streaming down her face. And grinning from ear to ear.
“That was so, so fun, Mommy,” she said, continuing to smile widely through her hot tears.
I hugged her, trying to help ease her shaking as we weaved our way through the park together.
I asked her why she decided to go, especially when another girl of about 14 had bolted from the ride at the last minute right before her.
“That girl – she missed it,” Hannah said, eyes widened. “I knew it might be scary, Mommy. And I knew I might end up thinking it was more scary than fun. But I wanted to do it – to know for myself. I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to be like that girl who just didn’t go for it – didn’t try.”
And that explanation, I think, reveals the heart of a true explorer – someone who wants to get the absolute most out of each and every day they are given on this crazy, unpredictable spinning sphere of ours.
Being a true explorer doesn’t mean that you take foolish risks, of course.
But it means that when you are presented with opportunities to have fun, to learn, or to experience something new, you seize those moments,
even if there are no guarantees that you will enjoy what you are trying.
Because often, missing something and not learning from it can be the worst move of all