I remember thinking as a young kid that I didn’t want to lose my sense of wonder. That it was important to me to be as adventurous, curious, and brave as I was as a child. I wanted to hold on to that same person inside of me that would run out without fear towards the farthest boulder in the ocean, or climb as high as I could go. I try to remind myself of that person as much as I can. I have these small moments of felling like I desperately miss that girl who would leap without looking- I’m worried that something in me has fundamentally changed and now I step more carefully on to those sharp rocks, and maybe only climb as far as I can reach where someone else might also be able to reach me. At the same time, I do know that I am still that girl. I do still take big risks and trust (or just flat out hope) that I will land true. Sure there are more synapses developed in the part of my brain that tell me that I should probably look before I jump. I’m a little more cautious with my safety than I was as a reckless, fearless child. What I am leaping towards isn’t necessarily as straightforwards as the next big rock, the next highest branch. But ultimately, I often still jump. Sometimes with what feels like both hands tied behind my back. I leap even when it’s towards a lot of uncertainty, new places in my life both physically and metaphorically. I think one of the biggest differences in how I leap is that I am afraid more often. I am not fearless. It may look like it from the outside in, but I try to not be reckless. Yes I jump, but I think about it a lot before I do. A big part of that is that I am more aware of how my actions affect others. I am more considerate of the people who may worry for my safety. Who may end up coming after me. I think that over the years I have developed a fierce sense of gratitude for those people in my life. Who let me run on the rocks, but were behind me (probably freaking out because they had at least a bit of sense where I did not), and willing to jump after me if I needed. I am so grateful. Dear Dad, thank you for 31 years of letting me jump. 31 years of climbing after me. Happy 61st Birthday. I love you.