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Taking the leap

I learned a great many lessons of life while working as a front desk clerk at the Eliza Thompson House while I was taking a break from and finishing up my college career. The owner of the inn at the time was a woman named Carol Day. Her husband, Steve, had taken early retirement from Caterpillar after a career that literally took him all over the world. The inn was an opportunity for her to do something that she had always wanted to do.

The building was beautiful. It’s the oldest building standing on Jones Street in Savannah’s historic district. The walk to work every day consisted of enjoying a brick paved street draped in live oak trees covered in Spanish moss. Paints a pretty cool picture, unless it’s Halloween (lol). The inn has been under different ownership since 2001, so the best way to run into the Days is to keep an eye out for their general contracting sign on some of the current renovation projects around Savannah. Anyway, one of the cool things about working at an inn was the chance you got to connect with people, especially during our wine and cheese reception. Mrs. Day encouraged the staff to talk with the guests and to answer any questions that the guests may have. We all got to meet some pretty amazing people over the years, some famous, some not, all incredible and all making that front parlor more of a classroom than many people realized.

One of the questions that people enjoyed asking was why she chose to purchase and run a bed and breakfast. Contained within that answer is a statement that, whenever I’m awake enough to remember, has encouraged me to do some pretty interesting things. I’ll never do it justice so I’ll paraphrase as best I can: Sometimes taking a chance looks and feels like you’re about to jump off a cliff. You need to take that “leap” in order to realize that the cliff is actually a simple, shallow step. She decided that she wanted to have her own business and wanted to live somewhere else other than Illinois. Once she realized that the leap was a small hop down a step, she enjoyed herself.

The idea behind the statement is quite simple: take the chance. If you take the chance and fail, at least you’ve tried. The best example I can share in this space is that I have a terrible fear of speaking in front of groups, mainly because I’ve had a stuttering problem from childhood. I’ve gotten better about doing it as time has gone on. This could be due to the fact that my job partially depends on it. You need to be able to get over any or at least put away any fears or stereotypes as much as possible in order to be productive. It is also because I realized that if I didn’t start dealing with just getting up there and talking I’d never be able to do half of the things I wanted to. There are still times when I hold in what I really think and feel. In those cases I’m not scared anymore, I’m just using my best judgment to keep a bad situation from getting out of hand or from ruining a good thing by saying something stupid. I am more willing to take the chance and seeing where it takes me most times though.

Seems to me that a lot of people are nervous or have some reservations about taking that first jump, not realizing that many times it’s really just taking a baby step towards your ultimate goal.

Posting questions for answers seems like it could be fun. Tonight’s question: What’s the last time that you just took the chance and decided to see what would happen? I’d be interested in finding out what about it was fun, what wasn’t, etc. Let me know. Have fun.

Published inThe Rambles

In response to your question:

In 1984 or 1985 I visited a carnival set up in a declining shopping center parking lot in my hometown. This was not the annual South Georgia Legion Fair that occupied the fairgrounds every fall. This was the small Geren Rides outift, which camped just south of town in the winter and set up their attractions at the Castle Park shopping center in between their road gigs.

For some reason I remember being there alone on a school night, which seems unusual. Perhaps I was there with a friend who was in line for a funnel cake or something when I decided to ride the Hammer.

I'm not a big fan of thrill rides, especially when they are operated by a dude who's sipping from a bottle of cough syrup, so I'm not sure what possessed me to ride The Hammer. It wasn't like I was trying to impress a girl or anything.

Anyway, I survived my ride on The Hammer. But I did not enjoy it. Nor did I derive much satisfaction from "the leap." I guess the lesson I learned is that before you take the leap, make sure you’re relatively sure what you’re leaping toward.