CONQUERING MY FEARS
All of us have some fears. It is part of being human, whether it is the fear of public speaking, being in enclosed spaces, being in large crowds. All of us have something that make our heart rate raise a little, or a lot.
My partner turned 60 recently and told me that she wanted to do the CN tower Edge Walk as the activity to celebrate her 60th birthday. She asked our 3 daughters if anyone would join. I was reticent but agreed to do it with her if none of the children would. I felt relieved when 2 of them agreed to do it, thinking I could opt out, but my partner wanted me there.
I agreed to go, knowing that I have a fear of heights. I conquered some of that fear when I turned 50, going hot air ballooning over the Elora Gorge. It was an exhilarating experience and I realized that as long as I was not on a roller coaster, moving at fast speeds, I could do this! This past February while in Sydney Australia, we had done the Bridge Climb and I did this successfully. Again, some heights but walking at my own speed, being in control to some degree. So, now I was agreeing to do the Edge Walk. I am aware that my fear of heights is under control, but the Edge Walk? This is not only walking at high heights, but also leaning in the great abyss of Toronto, suspended by 2 wires. I felt reassuring that the leaning in the great abyss was optional, that I still had some locus of control once I got up there.
The set up was similar to the Sydney Bridge Climb as so far as we had a jumpsuit to wear, had a harness, that all the precautions were explained to us and that we were assured that we would be safe. The elevator went up quickly, my ears popping a couple of times. Once up we were explained again the process. We were connected to those two heavy ropes/wires. When the exterior doors opened, and we went out, I was taken by surprise by the force of the wind. This brought up my fear up one notch. The first activity was standing at the edge of the platform and letting go of the rope, spreading our arms out. Our whole family was somewhat apprehensive. It’s a scary thought, as there is no safety bar on the edge, only those two rope wires holding us up. We did it though and felt very proud. The next activity was the leaning backwards off the Edge. I was feeling somewhat scared at this point. Could I do this? What a scary thought! And yes! I did it! And so did my spouse and daughters! We all had grins starting to spread on our faces! We then walked to the other side of the Edge where it was less windy. Here we did the leaning back off the Edge as a group and it was a photo opp where we all grinned while doing it! Our guide told us we were done and would be reentering the building. I was surprised to have the thought “already?” as I was really enjoying myself.
I know some of you are thinking “I could never do this” but I am here to say, never say never. Conquer your fears, one step at a time. And, what is my next challenging experience? Well, next year I am turning 60 and I am thinking… rock climbing? Of course in an indoors climbing area! Hopefully my whole family can join me in this experience!
Ray St-Amour, MSW, RSW