I am afraid of a lot of things... I'm afraid of heights. I'm afraid of talking to new people. I'm afraid of starting my own business. Most of all, though, I'm afraid of regret. That's why I've been trying very hard this past few years to push myself to do things I never would have thought possible. I started with eating right. Then I added some exercise. Then I tried running (more on that later). Then I stepped it up a notch and became a certified scuba diver. So, this weekend, I tried something else that was new and scary...
And yes, you read it right earlier...I am afraid of heights. However, my boyfriend is a skydiver and used to film people's first jumps for a living. Needless to say I've heard a lot about it the past couple years. I suppose learning about the safety mechanisms in place, the methods they use, the joy these seemingly insane people seem to have when it comes to jumping won me over. I thought about all the reasons I had put it off in the past, and then thought about all the reasons those reasons were silly. I would never remember that time that one time I DIDN'T go skydiving so I booked a time, put down a deposit and that was all she wrote.
I have to admit that despite the fact that you're supposed to be a nervous wreck for the first time I was exceedingly calm. Can't entirely tell yo why and I did have butterflies, but the good kind, you know? The kind that flutter with excitement in your belly. I was calm when I waited for the group to go through the mandatory legal jargon (unintentionally hilarious video of an old man who resembles a wizard reciting all the ways you may die and how you can't hold them responsible if you do). I was calm when they strapped me in the harness (and they really strapped me in tight, thank goodness!). I was calm when we were walking to the plane. I was even calm when we were climbing altitude in the sky. Laughing, if you can believe it. When you see all these people who've jumped a ba-jillion times being so casual you kind of realize that they didn't come to work to die today so odds are, everything's gonna be ok. In fact, it was all pretty zen and all I could think about was how pretty it was up there with the sun bursting through the white clouds.
Then the door opened... EESH, this is real now. The calm feeling I had skipped a little bit. Before I knew it, though, I was being clipped to my tandem guy, Jeff, then seriously hustled to the door. "Feet halfway over the edge..." he yelled at me over the sound of the wind. So that's what I did. And then we jumped.
Guys, this was an amazing feeling. One I will not forget for the rest of my life. The sensation of leaping from an open door of an airplane is not something that you can replicate anywhere else. The wind guzzles you up and then you're falling in it to the world below. After screaming "OH MY GOD" (which was caught on camera by my video guy in slow-motion and is completely hilarious to watch) came from my mouth all I could do was smile and laugh. Literally squealing the entire time. The ground was not even on my mind, other than taking in how pretty everything was below. It was so far away I felt like I had all the time in the world to take it in. It really did...the camera guy flies around you and you give a thumbs up, smile and wave, all that stuff and I actually ran out of ideas of things to do for him, haha! After what felt like ten minutes Jeff pulled the chute and we yanked a bit until we were floating along the breeze. I was breathless, exhilarated, exhausted, amazed and having the absolute time of my life.
I want to thank my tandem hero, Jeff, and the whole crew at SkydiveKC who made my first jump such a memorable experience! If you're at all interested in taking the leap you should definitely check them out. They have safety ratings and info, along with every question you could possibly ask on their site. If you can't find the answer to yours, just give them a call.They're incredibly helpful and happy to chat about the process.
Ok, so what I am hoping to achieve with this post is to champion everyone to try something new. To encourage you to do something out of the ordinary. It doesn't have to be as big as jumping from an airplane! Maybe it's a new recipe, going to that networking event you were dreading and totally going to ditch, letting yourself buy that dress you love even though it's "not meant for your figure," take a class, start a business, visit your neighbor, draw something, meet someone... Hell, it doesn't matter what it is!
The point, my friends, is that Regret is a total bitch. She plays on the playground with those other assholes, Fear, Self-Doubt and What-If and they are total mean girls. Ignore them, walk past them, realize you're better than them because what you will remember most are the times that you took a chance on something. If I can push my shy, scared little self to jump out of an airplane then you can push yourself to do something new, too. No matter how small it may be—it all counts!