Don’t jump into the unknown!

My title is actually a warning from Coleraine Coastguards. Tonight they were tasked with rescuing youths who had jumped from cliffs into the sea – dangerous at any time but particularly so with the prevailing winds. This is what they wrote:

At 19:40 this evening the Coleraine Team was tasked to a report of persons in difficulty in the water at the Herring Pond, Portstewart. A group of young persons had been jumping into the sea when two of their party got into difficulties. Their friends helped them to the safety of the shore and all were safe.
The sea conditions were very dangerous with a combination of strong winds, big swell and high tide. With the recent tragedy at Dunluce we would strongly warn of the dangers of tombstoning and swimming in dangerous conditions. Please, no more tragedies.

Over this summer there have been many tragedies where young people have jumped off cliffs and high points into water with fatal consequences. The message is clear, don’t jump into the unknown!

However, in life there is sometimes a time when a different sort of jump, a virtual jump presents itself – I wrote a true but disguised story yesterday of someone having the chance to leave a relationship and go off with someone she had only spoken a couple of sentences to but had never seen. Maybe that jump into the unknown, had she jumped, would have brought less unhappiness than unjumping did!

As a writer, my characters are always jumping into the unknown, it’s a major situation in many novels; sometimes the jump is into danger – as with the foolish young men jumping off cliffs, sometimes it’s escaping danger or a harming situation they are in, sometimes it’s a spontaneous desire for adventure, or love, or travel, or new challenges. Sometimes the spontaneous ‘jump’ is caused by others actions – not necessarily harmful, an exchanged glance between strangers, a train which stops and goes no further at an unintended station, taking the wrong turning, watching a film or play you didn’t mean to because you went to the wrong cinema/theatre, or the right cinema/theatre at the wrong time. Sometimes a jump is jumped through boredom, or weariness of the sameness of life/job/relationship/situation and a desire for something better and brighter.

For a writer, maybe the sensible advice from the coastguard should be ignored in a fictional situation! Yes, go – jump into the unknown!

You can find out more about the Coleraine Coastguards her:

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