Recently, I spent a week with my family in Costa Rica. There is much to see and do in that beautiful country. And both my kids (11 and 15) thoroughly enjoyed it.
One afternoon, we went on a boat ride to watch dolphins, witness the sunset, and enjoy dinner out on the ocean.
As part of the tour, at one scenic stop, the boat anchored and the captain invited everyone to disembark for snorkeling and/or swimming. Like I said… there is a lot to do in Costa Rica.
In addition to snorkeling, the captain invited people to jump off the top deck of the catamaran into the ocean if they wanted. As you might imagine, the teenage boys and young adults were the first to attempt the high dive into the water below. Some needed a little peer pressure, but most of the young men were more than happy to jump (and impress the girl they brought with them).
While anchored, I looked around at the other participants on the tour and began noticing for the first time the wide range of ages represented. There were many elderly people wearing regular clothes, enjoying the scenery, but with clearly no intention of getting off to swim or snorkel, much less jump 25 feet off the top of the boat.
There were also a number of young children onboard. Each of them got off the boat for snorkeling and swimming, but not a single one of them dared to make the jump.
While I was looking around at the different ages and life stages represented, my wife asked if I thought I was going to jump with the others.
“Yes,” I said. “I’m going to jump… while I still can.”
I’m 43, healthy, and in fairly good shape. I can run, snorkel, and swim. There will probably come a day when I am unable to do any of those. But that’s not today. Today, I can jump. So I will.
Besides, my son is 15. And he had every intention of jumping off that boat. I wanted to be there and jump alongside him—because I still can. And that might not always be the case.
There are moments in life that are difficult to communicate adequately with words. The circumstances are just right… the emotions are in perfect alignment… and all the thoughts running through the back of your mind are impossible to describe to another person. And sometimes in those moments, when everything is just right, a thought overwhelms you.
For me, the sight of young adults jumping off a boat into the ocean while those younger and those older watched from the sideline brought new resolve into my life.
I want to jump while I can. Because there will come a day when I cannot. And I don’t want to regret missing my opportunity to do it while I could.
On that warm evening in Costa Rica, that meant jumping into the ocean and treading water waiting for my son to follow my lead.
But I found the principle of “jump while you can” extends far beyond that one moment.
You see, not long after that boat ride, I was talking to a friend at a restaurant about raising daughters. His daughters are a bit older than mine, so I like to seek his wisdom and input from time to time.
He happened to make a comment to me about how fast time passes. “They grow up really fast Joshua, and you don’t always realize it’s happening. I’ll never forget the time I reached down to grab my daughter’s hand while on a walk and she pulled it back for the first time, and said, ‘I think I’m old enough to walk alone dad.’ Without even realizing it, my little girl had become a young woman.”
That evening, while on a walk with my daughter, I made a special point to hold her hand and enjoy the moment. “Jump while you can Joshua,” I thought to myself. Because there is probably coming a day very soon when I won’t be able to.
I have even begun to apply this mantra to the work that I do. As many of you know, last summer I launched a digital magazine with a few friends. Simplify Magazine has been incredibly well-received with over 65,000 subscribers in less than 10 months. We knew there was a need for well-curated material in a magazine-format that helped families focus on the things that matter most—but we had no idea this many people would sign-up in the first year.
Recently, my friend Brian and I began discussing the idea of starting a second magazine. This one though, would be focused almost entirely on the topic of money. Money is such an important topic and many people are looking for genuine help in how to handle theirs more effectively and intentionally. Out of the conversation, the idea for Simple Money Magazine was born.
Incidentally, it was this mantra of “Jump while you can,” that kept running through my mind during the decision-making process.
I’m healthy, with energy, and still enjoy working hard. I am at a good place in life to invest effort in creating something that will be genuinely helpful for people. That may not always be the case. But today it is. So I’m going to jump while I can. And I look forward to launching something new that will be helpful for many people when the first issue launches this Fall.
I don’t know what opportunity, opening, or challenge lies before you right now. Maybe it is a physical opportunity, a business opening, a relational challenge, or something else altogether.
But let me encourage you, jump while you can.
Life changes quickly. And there may come a day soon when you are not able to jump. So make the most of your opportunities today.