At the start of the summer I promised myself that by the end I was going to jump off a cliff. I mean, I say a lot of things at the start of every season. And month. And day. I talk a big game. I do not play one.
But recently I was presented with the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. An early-morning group paddle from Gylly beach to Maenporth was on the cards and, despite the fact that it was a Sunday and therefore totally unacceptable to be outside at 8am without there being some kind of emergency, I pulled on a jumper and made a flask of tea, and I went.
Having been distinctly autumnal the day before, the weather was glorious. My jumper lasted about ten seconds and the tea I had so lovingly prepared went untouched. We followed the coastline around to the wreck of the Ben Asdale, which is a boat from the seventies that has most definitely seen better days. After a while spent admiring him/her (is it still a ‘her’ when the boat is named after a ‘him’?) in all his/her twisted, rusty glory, we started the paddle home. The mist had burned off by now, and it was properly, why-did-I-buy-a-bunch-of-jumpers-yesterday hot.
“Anyone keen for a quick jump?” Someone asked as we passed Stack Point on the way back. It’s OG cliff jumping spot in Falmouth. I say that like I’d been there before. In actual fact I know the name after spending a year and a half studiously avoiding all trips to/conversations about the place lest someone discover that I wasn’t the chilled-out, sporty hipster I so effortlessly pretend to be most of the time.
Everybody enthusiastically agreed, so I had no choice but to pretend I did too, because I am nothing if not a follower.
Before I gave myself too much time to think about it, I’d stripped off my leggings and the Hamilton T-shirt I always wear to exercise in because I’m cool. Underneath I was wearing bikini bottoms and a sports bra. And not, like, an attractive, yoga bunny sports bra. Like a scaffolding-based sports bra that is designed to do a lot of heavy lifting and never ever be seen out in public. My legs hadn’t seen an epilator for a couple of weeks. I was looking my best.
I dismissed all fears about falling on the rocks as I climbed, and I stood on the top of the (Very small. Please know that I am wildly overplaying this.) cliff, staring at the water. A small child who was also part of our little paddling group, and had jumped in at least five times already, watched me as I hesitated.
“Don’t think about it,” Someone told me, clearly not worried about the fact that such a helpful titbit of advice was far too late.
The seasons changed. Years passed. The super-intelligent limpets took over as our supreme overlords. And, eventually, I pinched my nose, pushed off from the rocks, and took the plunge.
First order of business: OH MY GOD, THE WEDGIE. I’ve had a bad one before from a water slide in Florida, but this took the biscuit. I think if I’d opened my mouth at the moment I hit the water everybody watching on would have caught a flash of stripy bikini bottom. I feel like this doesn’t come up enough in everybody’s bikini-clad Instagram posts from their glamorous holidays, but all those skinny gap-year types jumping off of stuff in Australia or wherever, while wearing teeny tiny cossies are definitely regretting it.
Secondly, I DID THE THING. And here’s the thing that people don’t tell you about doing the thing: Sometimes you do the thing and decide, even before the thing is over, that you’d be perfectly happy if you didn’t do the thing again.
Shocking though it may be, I didn’t become an adrenaline junkie within the time it took to complete one mild Sunday morning cliff jump. I mean, it was fine, and I didn’t embarrass myself in front of any onlookers, which is more than I can say for the one time I went on the log flume at Chessington on a family day out. But, I realised before I had even hit the water, I just really appreciate the feeling of my stomach being in my stomach, and not hovering somewhere in my throat. And there’s no shame in that. It is, as they say, the little things.
So, I tried it. I came, I saw, I conquered. I ticked an item off of my summer bucket list, and I’m happy to announce that my weekend mornings from here on out will be spent drinking double cups of coffee while watching Sunday Brunch with absolutely no regrets. As it should be.