When I was a wee laddie, my family had a summer holiday in Cornwall. Whilst there, I was taken to a place called ‘Ben’s World’… I think. Memory is getting a bit hazy over the years. Anyway, Ben’s World, or whatever it was called, was one of these big indoor play area places, ball pits, climby things, spinny things, runny around screamy things, it had the works. One of the particular things I remember about Ben and his wonderful World of endless screamatunity was the Big Red Slide. Or as I like to call it, the really really really Big Red Slide. Of Death. It was big. It was red. It was a slide. It was a vertical drop which smoothed out into a long runway for you to come to a screaming, terrifying, heart pounding stop.
Alright maybe my memory has emphasised the slide a little bit.
The aforementioned slide was the main attraction in this place. The children queued to throw themselves off the top of this thing (because, you know, gravity is fun) and not wanting to miss the opportunity, I joined the queue and waited anxiously for my turn. It came a few minutes later when I reached the top of the stairs and was met by a smiling safety attendant who directed my vision towards the large sign beside him, detailing the list of rules which were for my own safety. Do not stand up on the slide. Do not go down the slide backwards. Do not raise your arms on the slide. Do not ponder deep philosophical issues whilst using the slide (Ok that one was fake). Then, with a smile he told me to ‘have fun!’ and got me to sit down on the edge of the slide. Now, did I mention the size of the slide earlier? I don’t think I did. It was BIG. I realised that as I stared into the abyss below me. I could just about make out my parents and a few other adults at the bottom waving me forwards. Of course I did the only thing I could do. I started to cry, the safety attendant asked if I was alright and then I got up and walked back down the stairs.
That slide freaked me out. It was scary. It was BIG. And there isn’t a day I don’t look back and feel embarrassed that I didn’t just JUMP. It would have been awesome! (Which I found out last year on my 21st when me and few friends when to Playzone which has an almost identical slide!) Now, why am I talking about the slide? Well, it reminds me a lot of my life now. The end of University. I am sat on the edge of the slide, looking into the abyss again. My life, up until this moment, has been timetabled for me. Primary school, Secondary school, College, Uni. I knew where to be, at what time, and what I needed to have with me. But now the timetable has run out. I don’t know what will happen next year, where should I go? What shall I do? Anything I do could end in failure. The thought of it is terrifying. But, I know that I shouldn’t freak out. I could start crying, get up and walk back to my parents and get them to look after me. Or, maybe I could take a chance. Maybe it will be better than expected. Maybe I stride out into the world and find that it is awesome. It’s time to stop being sheltered and protected. It’s time to put on my brave face. It is time to jump.