I’m a girl with a bucket list – one that has never been written down on paper, but that is constantly evolving within the confines of my mind. One that can include anything from live abroad (check) to learn how to blow dry my hair (still a work in progress) to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef (with any luck sooner rather than later). As I grow up the list changes from time to time but one thing that has consistently remained on it is this: jump out of a plane.
Normal people may call this activity sky diving, but being completely normal is not something that I have ever been good at.
Those that know me would tell you that I can be both a couch potato and an adrenaline junkie – meaning that I enjoy a good bit of lazing around drinking coffee and typing on this computer (here we are), but I also enjoy activities that leave me feeling like I might pee my pants with excitement and terror. This is where the jumping out of a plane comes from.
I am blessed with a mother who is about 10x the adrenaline junkie that I am. So, after years of saying “that’s a bucket list item,” about sky diving I was only a little bit surprised when she called to inform me that she had confirmed our sky diving time – so get ready. *cue pants peeing excitement and terror*
This past weekend we trotted out onto a runway and got strapped into our harnesses – shout out to the guy who (when crouching crotch level in front of me) said “give me some room to work with here,” to which my mom responded “never a bad thing when a man says that.” #nope.
A quick lesson on how to gracefully fall out of a plane (put your feet on the “return to earth” step and trust your tandem jumping man) and how to “arch like a banana” and we were ready to go:
Honestly, I fly a lot, so during this part I was thinking to myself “oh how pretty… is it weird that this is more comfy than an airplane seat?… daaaaaaang look at the skyline… oh! the clouds! I’ve always wondered what a cloud felt like.”
It wasn’t until one of the tandem jumping guys said “half way there! five thousand feet!” that I started to get an eentsy weentsy bit nervous, but I quickly went back to looking at clouds and talking mom down from the beginnings of a panic. She looked at me wide eyed and told me that a friend of hers had told her a new prayer – “love is the answer” – as she started muttering it over and over again and alternating between looking out the window and covering her eyes with her hands. (side note… I’m really not sure that counts as a prayer).
The best part of the flight up was this exchange:
Mom: “So, are the clouds a problem?”
Instructor: “Well if we hit one we will have to drag ourselves over to the edge and jump off again.”
A few minutes later and we were ready to fall out – this is when I had an oh, fuck moment of my own. The door flew open and I found myself eyeball to eyeball with nothing other than air and a plane wing .. and then the ground, which looked veeeeeeeerry far away.
And then we were falling.
I will be the first to tell you that I am an adrenaline junkie (obviously, since I already have). If there’s a risky move to take, in all likelihood I’m going to be the first to take it. My personal tag line these days is “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” and it has yet to fail me.
Falling through the sky is pure terror, joy and emotion. You’re looking up at the plane as you fall away from it, then down at the earth coming up to meet you. There are clouds rushing by your head and the screams of terror and joy are downed out by the wind rushing past you. It’s a feeling that I have never experienced in any other situation – it’s pure freedom.
It’s as close as I have come to stopping time – enjoying each and every fraction of a second that passes by. We can all get so wrapped up in each and every tiny thing happening in our lives that the seconds blur into minutes, hours, days and even weeks, months and years. Every so-often it is so important to take a pause, or a jump, and just live.