What Zip-lining Taught Me About Procrastination

I recently returned from a week in Las Vegas with my husband and our daughter. We had a terrific time exploring what turned out to be quite a family-friendly town, much to our surprise and relief.

One night, we visited Fremont Street, Vegas’ version of Times Square. As we wove through the street packed with artists selling their wares and tourists wielding selfie sticks, live music blaring, we noticed a crowd looking up toward the sky. We followed their gaze to find a few adventurous tourists zip-lining above us, hooting and hollering as they flew across the equivalent of two city blocks. I watched, completely fascinated, and imagined the sensation of flying: the wind across my face, the sheer exhilaration. Many years ago, I added zip-lining to my bucket list, and as of that Vegas day it remained unchecked.

A few days later, we found ourselves near Fremont Street again, and this time I casually mentioned to my family that I was considering doing the zip line. Now that I had garnered the courage to say it out loud, it seemed like more of an actual possibility. My husband walked over to the ticket booth and inquired. There was an hour wait. Suddenly, my urge wavered and I told him to forget it.

Over the next few days, the idea of zip-lining kept creeping into my thoughts. I knew if I didn’t do it on this trip, I’d never do it. I looked at the words tattooed on my inner wrist, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” and realized it was time to take the leap — literally.

So, the next day, my family and I returned once again to Fremont Street and headed straight for the zip line. There were already plenty of people waiting outside the ticket booth, but instead of chickening out this time, I got in line. To kill time, I posted on Facebook that I was about to do something out of my comfort zone and to wish me luck. As I stood waiting, I received supportive texts and encouraging Facebook comments. I knew there was no turning back, and I bought my ticket.  

Shortly after, I kissed my husband goodbye, hugged my daughter, and told her that sometimes we do things even when we are afraid. I stepped into the harness, solemnly climbed the six levels of stairs alone, and starting talking to myself out loud. “You can do this,” I said. “You’re brave, you’re courageous, and you’re going to be safe.”

Suddenly, I was at the top of the stairs. I’m not going to lie: I was terrified. I repeatedly asked the guy to check my harness. He kindly obliged, and directed me to walk down four stairs and hold on. He told me that on the fourth step, the ride would launch me into the air. The time between the third and the fourth steps seemed like an eternity. But as I looked down, I saw my little daughter in her shiny gold jacket looking up at me, and my whole demeanor changed. I had to be brave for her. I waved wildly at her, she waved back, and then I stepped onto the fourth step and was launched through the sky. I hooted and hollered the whole way, completely exhilarated, trying to remain mindful of my surroundings and the way I felt. Before I knew it, the ride was over and I was safely on the other side, being greeted by my family.

As I walked away from the ride, I was so happy I had taken the leap. The whole thing had been much scarier in my imagination than in real life, which seems to be the case with most things I procrastinate on. When I avoid things, whether they’re household chores, work tasks, or personal experiences, they become increasingly more daunting in my mind. The anxiety builds to the point where confronting them becomes an issue and denies me that much-needed sense of accomplishment.

As we walked to the car after my zip line experience, we passed a street performer crooning, “A little less conversation, a little more action.” It hit me that the more we take charge in our lives and face every challenge head-on, the better off we’ll be. So the next time you’re afraid to take the leap, give yourself a pep talk, believe you can do it, and then, soar!

Jenny Powers is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.