The BIG 30 Project: #9 Go Sky-Diving
As I said in one of my earlier blog entries: For someone who can barely stand to be on a step-ladder, I really love heights.
Still, I wasn’t sure it was something I could do.
When I was a kid, I used to dream about the person I wanted to turn out to be. The older version of me was everything childhood me was not: she was confident and fearless, wore a lot of leather, and drove a motorcycle.
I was such a cautious kid.
Cautious because I put an intense amount of pressure on myself to succeed and I knew that the path between where I wanted to go and where I was could all too easily be screwed up by the decisions of an idiot youth. (I of course ignored the fact that idiocy in youth is forgiven more often than not because I couldn’t accept that as an excuse for me not trying to be perfect all the time)
Now that I’ve gotten older and a little more confident, and I’ve got my degrees and I have a job I like, I feel like some of the pressure to be cautious is off.
I feel like I can be just a little reckless.
Sky-Diving is something that I’ve always been interested in trying. To me, it was one of those things that interesting people did. Adventurous people. People like the person I had envisioned for myself as a kid. I wanted to know the feeling of taking a literal leap of faith. I wanted to feel the wind rushing around me.
So, I decided to go for it.
I did a little research, found a place near enough to Ottawa that I could manage it on a weekend, told as many people as I could that I was doing it (half out of excitement and half as insurance I wouldn’t back out), and gratefully accepted the offer of a friend who was as excited to go jump out of a plane as I was.
It’s funny what our actions make us learn about ourselves.
My biggest fear about going sky-diving wasn’t that there would be an accident or that I would back out. My biggest fear about this exercise was that I would be turned away for exceeding the weight restriction.
I am sensitive about my weight.
Not exactly a shocking statement, but it’s true. I’ve been roughly the same weight and size since I was about 16. I usually hover somewhere between 220-250 lbs (though I’ve been told I don’t look it). I’ve tried my best to manage the weight but there’s little I can do to change it. I’m not going to lay the details out because A) that’s boring and B) it’s not really anyone’s damn business but suffice to say that it’s not due to lack of exercise or a poor diet. Ask anyone who’s watched me walk 4 miles a day or climb a mountain.
Going into this Sky-Diving adventure, I knew there was a chance I could be turned away. The weight limit, equipment on, is about 250 lbs. I was terrified that I would exceed that limit and stepping onto the scale once we got to the facility was worse than stepping to the edge of the plane door by a mile. However, the feeling of triumph when I was given the all-clear, it paled in comparison to the pride I felt when I jumped.
Above, on the left, is my friend Sofie. She is crazy and amazing and I don’t know that I could have done this without her doing it with me. If you’re wondering who the dude the red shirt is, I don’t know. He was jumping that day too and he was on our plane. He seemed cool, though, and I was happy to have a red-shirt aboard because if Star Trek has taught me anything, it’s that he will die before me.
Yay, more red-shirts! You see? It was clear Sofie and I would be fine all along. Our instructors who were both fabulously professional and delightful people.
See that look on my face? That’s the look Mum gives me when I talk her into doing things. Apparently, I give myself the same look when I decide to jump out of planes.
Yay! Look at who’s excited!
Below, you will see the face of focus.
Honestly, at this point, I was just concentrated on following the steps I had forced my instructor to repeat to me like a soothing children’s story.
13,500 feet in the air and look at my face. Look at my face. I ain’t bovvered!
I was so amazed that I didn’t have a single problem getting myself to this part and then…
AND I’M FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
I’M FREE FALLIN’
Incidentally, I hate that song.
Makes for a good reference about this time, though.
Now, if you’re wondering whether or not I liked the dive and if I was scared, I’d like to refer you to the absolute joy on my face in the next few pictures.
We fell at around 219km/hour and it was great.
But there’s more than just the fall, there’s also the part, around 5,000 feet in the air,where the chute opens and you suddenly feel like a baby in a jolly-jumper, except that the harness kinds of snaps and reminds you that your thighs are a little meatier since then and that’s just a smidge uncomfortable, but the view makes up for it.
As you can tell, especially in that last picture, I LOVED it. I haven’t felt that proud of myself since I learned how to ride a bike. The entire time we were falling, between the WOOOs, I kept saying how I couldn’t believe I’d done it and how I was so insanely proud of myself. It was an amazing experience and one I’d recreate in a heartbeat.
HELLO PEASANTS, I said as I waved my arms as we came in for landing.
As you can tell, Sofie and I pretty much shared the sentiment of joy.
It was an amazing day and one I’ll never forget. Big thanks to the staff at GOSkyDive who were all hilarious, professional, and all around lovely and a HUGE thank you to Sofie for being at least as crazy as I am.
My only problem now is I have to figure out what to do next…
Completed BIG 30 Items
#1. Postmark Tattoo
#2. Reupholster a Chair
#3. See Amanda Palmer Perform Live
#4. Meet Someone I Admire
#5. Play an Instrument in Public
#6. Ride a Horse
#7. Ride a Hot Air Balloon
#8. Laser Eyes
#9. Go Sky-Diving
Posted on August 28, 2015, in The BIG 30 Project and tagged 30 years old, afraid, anxiety, appreciate what you have, Be yourself, being ridiculous, being unprepared, crazy, Do what scares you, emotion, Sky Diving. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.