I recently threw caution to the wind and I jumped into the ocean.

That may not sound like such a big deal to you, but to me it was everything. I rarely do things that are crazy or wild or scary. I can take risks with my career or on stage in a scene or while I’m dancing; I have often taken emotional risks. But other than that I’m usually pretty practical.

You guys know the movie Dirty Dancing, right? Remember the scene in the movie where Johnny and Baby are so frustrated learning the big dance and Johnny says, “Let’s get out of here.” They run outside to the car, but the keys are locked inside and it’s pouring down rain. But instead of giving up, Johnny kicks a wooden post out of the ground and uses it to break the window of the car. They jump inside, take off for the woods, and baby says, “You’re wild.” He says, “What?” And she repeats, “You’re wild!!!”

I can imagine being in Baby’s shoes and thinking Johnny was a mystical creature with wild, untamed craziness. If it was me stuck in the rain with keys locked in the car, I’d go back inside to call AAA. And if for some reason I agreed to get in the car after the window had been broken I’d be thinking, “Oh, great. So now I have to ride in a car with broken glass and rain pouring in on me?”

I’ve never been a Johnny. But I’ve always been impressed by the Johnnys of the world. People who can just live in the moment, not worrying about the mess, not worrying about the consequences, not be concerned about anything but the now. The jump-off-the-ledge, take-the-plunge, get-wet sort of folks. I’m too careful, too thoughtful, too strategic, too prudent.

I’m really drawn to people who can so easily try adventurous, crazy things. And when they encourage me to join them I’m beyond grateful. I love when I’m forced out of my comfort zone. Perhaps everyone secretly craves a Johnny in their life. I will usually wait for someone else to take the lead when it comes to things like that, and when they do I always get a rush; but I’m not much of an initiator. Suffice it say, jumping in the ocean, fully clothed, is not particularly something in my wheelhouse.

I had been jogging along the ocean and I started getting very hot. I thought the ocean looked refreshing and truly tempting, but I initially stopped myself from jumping in because I thought it wouldn’t be practical or possible. I had my phone and my room key on me. I was in exercise clothes, not my bathing suit. I only had one set of workout clothes with me on the trip; they might not dry in time to wear the next day. I’d be tracking sand into the Ritz Carlton. Yaddi, yaddi, yadda.

You can’t just jump in the ocean, silly.

With all the reasonings laid out in my head I started back to my hotel — overheated, exhausted, and kind of ashamed of my lack of spontaneity. Then it hit me, I can so easily take off my shoes, put my phone inside them, and rest them on the sand. Funny, how it took what felt like a stroke of genius on my part for me to even imagine this solution. But indeed that’s what I did. I was off!

I ran, fully clothed, even dove head first into an oncoming wave.

Then I was promptly taken under, tossed all topsy-turvy, and had the ironically poetic thought occur to me that I just might die from this random one time I decided to be wild. Wouldn’t that be a pisser?

But I didn’t die. I came up for air feeling exhilarated, thrilled, happy, and most of all, proud — Proud that I’d just gone for it.

Then I kept looking back to shore to make sure no one was stealing my shoes. So much for throwing caution to the wind. Haha. Hey, cut me some slack. My phone was in there!

Now, mind you, even as I write this I have no intention of ever, ever, EVER bungee jumping, skydiving, or hang gliding. Seriously, one could actually die, like for reals. But maybe, just maybe, I can start throwing caution to the wind more often by taking a risk every now and again, even if it’s scary or, heaven forbid, messy.

Here’s me the moment after it was over:



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