Have you ever dreamed of flying?
Two months ago my friend Kristy asked me if I wanted to take the big leap and jump out of a plane with her. I felt the fear welling up inside me instantly as I thought of what I should reply and then I typed the words… YES, I am in!
And with those few words this journey started.
I realized that this was probably the scariest thing have ever done… scarier than dancing the cha-cha in front of hundreds of people or trying out for my first play and singing in front of professional actors and scarier than climbing a 10,000 ft peak considering my fear of heights.
On August 28th, my 14th wedding anniversary (don’t read too much into that) I flew through the sky and conquered one of my biggest fears. Family and friends gathered to witness this crazy adventure.
There was a storm starting to close in on us and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to jump. They suited me up quickly and said we needed to go now or I may not get to go.
It was really happening. I said goodbye to each of my kids and my hubby.
The butterflies were swirling and my nervous giggling had started.
I had to leave my family and friends and walk into the unknown. They checked my gear and then it was time to crawl into that tiny plane.
As we prepared to take off it was the weirdest thing… I was no longer nervous, the butterflies disappeared and I was just loving the view… it was breathtaking!
Then my tandem master, who is an ex Russia Militia who has jumped over 18,000 times, started hooking me up, I took a deep breath; it was time.
We had reached 10,000 feet and the door was suddenly flung open, the airplane started to shake and the wind whirled through the cabin, I gasped as I realized this was it… no turning back now.
We scooted back to where the door used to be and I was going over my training in my head: knees out, feet on the tiny step, arms across the chest, head up.
As I looked down, yes never look down as you are exiting a plane, I said something to the affect of, “You have got to be freaking kidding me!!!” I knew it would be crazy high but when you are hanging out of a plane 10,000 feet up and ready to jump out… your whole body is screaming, ‘Don’t Do It!’
Then we shimmied forward and that was it. I just remember doing a flip and then we were flying and at that moment the fears were gone and in their place was complete gratitude and awe for what I was experiencing!
I get all teary eyed thinking about that moment; where I couldn’t believe I did it, me who is terrified of heights and who used to not even go ice skating because I might fall, was flying through the air at a very high rate of speed.
The other diver who was videotaping the jump came close and reached out his hand and so I reached out and took it, smiling the whole time and trying not to drool as the wind is very forceful!
I was taking it all in when all of a sudden there was a jerk and I was now upright. The chute had been pulled and I looked down to see the other diver falling so fast… which is really how fast I was just falling but it looked so crazy… we actually fell 5000 feet in 45 seconds, yikes!
My tandem master asked if this was really my first jump. I said, ‘YES!’
Then he said, ‘Wow you are so calm. Most people on their first jump are just freaking out during freefall but you even reached out and held Calvin’s hand during freefall, that is a move that someone who has jumped many times would do. Good for you.’
Whoa I was so excited to get that kind of compliment… little me impressing the ex Russian Militia man?!
We did some 360 degree spins which I thought I would hate but I loved and I was hooting and hollering mixed with moments of just taking it all in.
My tandem master asked me to reach up and take hold of the parachute… WHAT?! I started to say, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ But I just swallowed those fear-based words and put my hands into the handles.
He guided me to know how to pull to make us spin again… this was so incredible… I was in control of the parachute, how amazing!!!
As we got closer to the ground I could see the mass of people waiting for me to land and could hear them screaming and cheering and I felt an overwhelming love for everyone there and for my life… I had made it down safely. The ‘what if’s’ had crossed my mind and tears started to flow.
The last spin took my breath away–and I breathed in deeply, taking it all in.
As we landed the swarm of kids and loved ones surrounded us and the words that came out of my mouth were, “that was AMAZING! I am so doing it again!”
Maybe I will get my solo license but for now knowing I overcame this HUGE fear and absolutely loved it… something I would have never done if I had let fear get in the way, is the most incredible feeling ever.
My biggest life lesson: amazing things are just around the corner if we will just have the courage to embrace them.
Remember I am no braver than you, I just chose to act with courage when I was scared and I decided to LIVE fully and courageously and so can YOU!