The scariest moment is when you’ve just lunged toward the water. Your toes are still on the diving board and give you this useless illusion of safety But you’re at this crazy angle and your center of mass is somewhere five feet in front of where it should be and there’s just no going back. You HAVE to jump. And i don’t think you realize you’re there until you HAVE to jump. And then you just jump.
It’s a long fall, that descent from the high dive. When you’re in free fall from a safe perch, time dilates. It slows down. Five seconds feels like five minutes. You discover you have some time to Think Things Over. You reflect fondly on the faces of your family and friends. You quantify, then qualify your various regrets (such as jumping off the high dive) You anticipate hitting the water and try to calculate, from your current position in space, how much the landing will hurt.
But most importantly you realize that your fall is no longer any of your business. That you can try to stick it, you can try to soften the impact. If you’re the hero type you can even try to do some funky midair showboating. But at the end of the day, you are at the mercy of gravity and buoyancy. There are not many choices left to you. And so you fall. Because you have to.
And then, suddenly, The Impact. it either happens naturally (because your body and mind know what to do) or it doesn’t happen naturally at all.. and you do a giant belly flop. And it hurts. And people laugh and sometimes your top falls off. But then it’s over. And you’re still alive. And when your head finally breaks the surface of the water, you have resurfaced a bigger person. Because you jumped.