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1-2-3 jump!

Posted: July 8, 2014 8:37 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2014 5:00 a.m.

I stood on the edge of a swimming pool over the Fourth of July weekend and wavered between whether I should jump in or take the steps. I’d tested the waters with a foot dip and I knew they were cold. I spent the holiday in South Point, Ohio, which had just had some unseasonably cold nights. Though the sun was high in the summer sky, the water had not been warmed.

No part of me wanted to submerge myself in those chilly depths. My brain said I should take the steps, one at a time, allowing my body to adjust to the temperature, but my boyfriend’s 10-year-old daughter pulled at my hand and asked if I would jump in the deep end at the same time as her.

When you’ve just met your boyfriend’s daughter, it’s very important to be cool. I knew if I didn’t jump in with her, I’d look like a wimp, which is the opposite of cool. I drew in my breath and counted to three.

Needless to say, the water was just as cold when I was entirely drenched in it as it had been when I only dipped in my foot. But, the truth is, after you jump in and splash around a bit, the pain of the cold subsides and it’s not so bad. Maybe that’s just your body’s extremities shutting down and a state of numbness resulting, but it’s pretty great.

In most things I do, I tend to take the plunge. This has had varied results. For example, after an extended period of single time, I’ve recently started dating someone. For those of you who have been in this position, you know there’s a lot of uncertainty in the early stages.

There are worries that this person that you are allowing to become an important part of your life may not care about you as much as you care for him. There is the fear that you could end up with a broken heart and a more bitter and jaded perspective on love than you had before. You could spend hours coming up with reasons why you shouldn’t take a chance and why love won’t work for you.

Or, if you’re like me, you can face your fears and doubts and questions and answer them all with the various possibilities about how this relationship could be wonderful and how this person could fill your heart fuller than it’s ever been filled. You could think about the times you’ve spent with him and how much you laughed and smiled until your cheeks hurt and how you bawled your eyelids raw when you had to tell him bye. You could allow the possibility, scary as it may be, that this could be something great … that the two of you could be insanely happy together. That’s one way I’ve taken the plunge recently.

Another plunge I’ve taken comes in the form of my career. For the last year, I’ve worked at the Chronicle-Independent as the Localife editor, reporting on the county beat for a while and the school beat for a bit, too. It’s been an incredibly valuable experience. I’ve met some fascinating people in Kershaw County and I’ve written some exciting stories.

My favorite part of working as a reporter has been my weekly column. Every week I look forward to these 500-1,500 words to share what’s on my mind and heart. I’ve said a lot about myself here and a lot about how I see the world and everything in it. I have truly enjoyed having this forum of free speech at my disposal and I know I will miss it when I’m gone.

Yes, I’m taking leave and moving on from my reporter days. I’m going to begin a career at a law firm in Columbia, starting Monday. I’ll pause while my vast readership wishes me a collective good luck. Thank you all for that.

My new career will be different from anything I’ve done before, but I also think it will pull on various aspects of my experience and personality, and I do believe I’ve gained some crucial and irreplaceable writing, reading, proofing and editing skills along the way.

My life has been a series of taking the plunge moments, and this latest venture is right in the same vein. I plan on diving right in to the experience with everything I have, moving to Columbia and beginning the next part of my life there and hopefully my love will be there with me and we’ll both be ridiculously, obnoxiously, intoxicatingly happy together.

As for the place I’m leaving, I bid farewell with a little sadness, but much gratitude. I’ll certainly miss all the people I’ve become close to while working here, but modern technology promises we’ll stay in touch.

And to you, my beautiful column and my beautiful readers, I’ll miss you the most, but I’ll never forget all that we had. You were the wind beneath my wings. Bon voyage and happy trails to each of you. I wish you all the absolute best!

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