A Plunge to Take, Day 100
When my new friend and impromptu sidekick, writer Thomas Allen, suggested jumping off a bridge in Central Park for my one hundredth post, I thought it didn’t really fit my theme as well as something more self-improvement oriented. So we debated, searched, and settled on kayaking in the Hudson, a free service offered at Pier 96 and an activity I’ve wanted to try for some time. Incoming text from Thomas: “I don’t think they are open…” indeed, despite all appearances to the contrary on their website, Pier 96’s free kayaking weeknights begin June 21.
On this particular evening, we didn’t even have time to plan another challenge. Since Thomas had a party to attend to promote his current film project, we decided to grab some pizza and call it a wash. Incoming text to Thomas: change of plans, no further guests can attend the aforementioned party. So it seems fate intervened to return our focus, indeed, to the Bough Bridge in Central Park.
Teeming with runners for the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, the park had a surprising amount of activity for our little stunt. In hindsight, with security necessarily devoted elsewhere, a night like this provided the perfect conditions. To further improve our overall success, we searched for a place just past the bridge, its random tourists, and a Japanese couple and their photographer to hide his bike and the rest of our belongings. Already prepared to kayak, I had a proper bikini and shorts, and Thomas his board shorts. Sadly unprepared without having done any research, we did not have any idea about water depth below the approximately 10 foot drop (nine and a half feet, exactly).
Without testing or approving, Thomas removed his glasses, we climbed over the ledge, and he jumped first. Much to the surprise of onlookers, I followed, and we both swam the murky waters to the nearby shore. Several species of fish and turtles survive the conditions, and so did we. Yes, it felt a bit high of a jump, especially for the likely three and a half to four feet depth, and my heart quickened as I touched off of the ledge, even after watching Thomas land successfully. Wet and grimy sludge cushioned our feet upon exiting the pond, and I showered extremely thoroughly both before and after my subsequent workout at Planet Fitness.
In truth, my first full cardiovascular routine since slightly injuring my knee a couple of weeks ago felt amazing after an invigorating plunge into the forbidden, somewhat unknown waters of Central Park with an already great friend and now actual partner in crime. When Thomas and I walked back over the bridge, we met the applause of some onlookers and, very coincidentally, filmmakers from Norway and Australia (Thomas Allen writes for film and grew up in Australia). Clearly our well-fated jump happened for many reasons, and I hope we see Jeremy Belinfante, Australian film writer and director, again before he returns home. Regardless, I’ll likely have a photo from one of the men to post shortly and definitely have a grand memory and funny story to tell.
On the evening of my one hundredth post, I feel like a different person than when I began, and pushing boundaries of acceptable social behavior while taking an actual plunge tonight undoubtedly has added to the quality of my life. We have plans to find higher bridges and more exciting challenges, and I will skydive this year both figuratively and literally as I continue to try, succeed, fail, and live with fewer and fewer excuses each day. Furthermore, I have decided to continue celebrating others who have bravely jumped out of their comfort zones in life by publishing more guest blog posts by friends and strangers on Saturdays, as did Elizabeth Meriwether this past April. If you have challenged yourself in a major way and want to contribute, please let me know. In the meantime, I can honestly say that for the first time I feel as if life doesn’t fight me anymore, and that is an outlook worth having every day.