Thrill seeking in everyday life

Why one woman decided not to go cliff diving

A friend spoke to a group I attend—telling of an experience she'd had white-water rafting, and then jumping (while wearing a life jacket) off a forty-foot cliff into the river. Her face was radiant as she described the event. According to her, this feat had given her a new sense of power and inspiration, something I could certainly use.

There are so many things that I'm afraid of. Water is one. River water is two. Churning river water is three. And the list goes on. I wanted so much to be more fearless. Her daring act made me think that perhaps I should try something equally daring to prove to myself that I could be the master of fear.

At first, that made sense. I have felt less afraid by trying something new. When I first started playing the piano and organ in public, I was so nervous I couldn't sleep for two nights before performing. When I gave my senior recital at college, I was almost as afraid as I would have been jumping off a cliff; but I walked onstage, played (though not in a totally stellar way), and lived to tell about it. Over the years playing in public has become easier.

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June 22, 1998

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