I can really sum it up with one word - chicken. In my past, my somewhat recent past, I was a complete chicken when it came to so many things. You could have fried me up and served me with a biscuit. Every missed opportunity and regret I have is tied to some fear of mine. I was afraid of heights, a little claustrophobic, and terrified of what others thought of me or of offending someone. I irrationally saw disaster or at least problems around every corner. All silver linings came with the question, "but what's the down side?" Because I was sure there had to be one.
I can't say skydiving was a life-long dream. Can't say I've always wanted to 'fly like a bird' or even do something crazy. I did a tandem skydive today as part of my 50th birthday celebration because I'm tired of being a chicken and I needed and wanted to face one of my big fears and push past it. The big news today isn't that I survived (logically, odds were majorly on my side). The big news is that I didn't chicken out, and believe me, it crossed my mind.
So, the low down on coming down. Well, it was fun. It helped that I was strapped in an almost intimate way to one very cute, very sweet Brazilian. It also helped that they really didn't give me much time to over think all my irrational fears. It was a very fast process. Once I was in my harness I had a very quick briefing on what I needed to do. It included putting my head on the shoulder of my cute Brazilian. I could handle this. Then I was moved to the plane along with four other jumpers and we took off.
I chatted away with my tandem jump buddy and the pilot for our 10 min. flight, then the back door was opened and all jumpers were escorted to the door post haste. I looked out and down for a second (I think it is a natural reaction), then looked up and put my head on cutie's shoulder as he shoved us out the door. Free falling, not my favorite (song or part of this event). The wind and fear took away my breath and I was dying for a drink of water. My mind was trying to adjust to the idea that I was in fact out of the plane, but I did manage to smile a little and start to check out the view. When he pulled our chute, we jerked up a little, then it got really fun.
I jumped near Cape Canaveral in Florida, so I could see the space center and the ocean and the lay of the land. It was calm and beautiful and really not very scary at all at this point. We floated around to check out all the views before he gave me my mini-briefing on landing (a good thing to know before it happens). With my legs up, we did just that, landed. Woo hoo!!
Everyone's first question, "would you do it again?" I would have to say no. Not because I didn't enjoy it. It was definitely fun, especially after the parachute opened. But I would rather we use our family fun funds to let the rest of my family have the experience and I accomplished what I wanted to. I pushed past my fear. I was a little less chicken and a little more brave, exactly what I want to be for the next 50 years.