Excitement. Thrill. Hype. Nervousness. Hesitation. Fear. Hope. Assurance.

Those were the emotions I felt prior to taking The Plunge into the waters of Lingayen Gulf via a rock outcropping inside the Imelda Cave of Marcos Island. The said jump is about 20 feet high.

I love the outdoors. I love exploring nature. I love the water albeit my lack of swimming skills. I can also take several meters of zipline because of all the harnesses and safety gears I am required to put on before surrendering my safety to cable wires. So what is it about The Plunge that made me write something about it? I realized after taking The Plunge that jumping off the rock into the sea water is a lot like entering into a relationship.

Before The Plunge, my life was fairly predictable: waking up, preparing for work, reporting to work from 8am to 5pm, heading home, preparing for bed, sleeping and then repeating the whole process the following day. The most adventure I may have with that routine is trying to beat the biometrics so I won’t time-in late, or having an argument with the tricycle driver for not letting me off inside our office compound, or having to appease an irate client.

And then comes The Plunge. It involved going on a 6-hour drive by land from Manila, about an hour’s sail by motorboat from Lucap Wharf, a 10-minute walk from the shores of Marcos Island and about 20 steps from the mouth of Imelda Cave to the jump-off. But that is not all. Once I got to the cave, I was surprised to see about 20 people who are waiting in line to jump off the rock. The pressure got to me when it was time for me to jump because the people will make a countdown until one jumps off the rock. There were also cat calls that range from a slightly mean “You’ve already reached quota” to a comforting “You can do it”.

It took me about 10 minutes and several attempts to jump off the rock before I finally made it. When I took The Plunge and was leisurely swimming in the water, it hit me that my recent experience is a lot comparable to entering a relationship.

Before I entered The Relationship, my life was fairly predictable: waking up, preparing for work, reporting to work from 8am to 5pm, heading home, preparing for bed, sleeping and then repeating the whole process the following day. The most adventure I may have with that routine is trying to beat the biometrics so I won’t time-in late, or having an argument with the tricycle driver for not letting me off inside our office compound, or having to appease an irate client.

And then comes The Relationship. It involved going out on several dates, about an hour’s prayer everyday for guidance, a set time of catching up daily and about several times of weighing the pros and cons before reaching a decision of commiting to The Relationship or not. But that is not all. Once I got to the decision point, I was surprised to find out that several people were interested to know if I will be going for it or not. The pressure got to me when it was time for me to decide because the people will remind me of my age and the perils of entering a serious relationship at a later age. There were also cat calls that range from a slightly mean “You deserve a better man” to a comforting “You decide who deserves you”.

So there I was after The Plunge and I realized three important things:

1. Jumping off the rock should not be determined by the pressure you receive from the crowd but by your readiness to jump. Just like in entering a relationship, your decision to commit should be determined by your readiness to commit not by people’s pressure, no matter how well-meaning the pressure is.

2. Jumping off the rock will make you feel several emotions at once and the greatest of it will determine how soon you will be ready to jump. In The Relationship I recently had, I felt several emotions: excitement, thrill, nervousness, hesitation, hope. I chose Hope over all the other emotions and it made me commit to The Relationship with eyes wide open, knowing the possible consequences and still going through with it despite the difficulties because I am hopeful.

3. No matter how many times you have jumped off the rock, every jump is unique and all its own. In my past relationships and pseudo-relationsips, every experience taught me lessons and new insights that only that certain relationship did. One relationship taught me to not assume about our status and that I have the right to clarify if we are already crossing the bounds of friendship if I already feel confused by it. Another taught me that I am worthy to be loved as much as anyone must be loved even if the guy is only looking for a rebound. Another taught me that I need to elevate my faith so I can see beyond the here and now, the hurt and the pain and to cling only to the faith and hope I have in my heart.

After The Plunge and The Relationship, all I can say is that every minute was worth it. And if asked if I will do it again, my answer will be “Yes, I will take The Plunge again in the same place and The Relationship with the same person. I know it will be different from the first time even if I do it in the same place or with the same person but I will still do it because the place and the person are worth taking a chance.”

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