skydiving without fear!
Last weekend, my boyfriend and I finally did something that we’ve been talking about doing for months – skydiving.
Cam’s birthday was a few weeks ago and we had excitedly made plans to skydive that weekend. However, when an unexpected storm rolled in, we had to cancel and reschedule for two weeks later. Two weeks more of waiting?! I was so antsy.
You see, skydiving was always at the top of Cam’s dream list. It was near the bottom of mine… sort of like an afterthought. “Why yes, I suppose one day I should skydive.” But not Cam. He was pretty excited about it from the get-go. But me? I pretty much blocked the thought from my head in the days leading up to the event. I haven’t ever been afraid of heights, thrills, or planes before… but for some reason my stomach started to nervously churn when I thought about this.
But I pre-paid for this thing. I said I was going to do it. I wasn’t going to back out now, darn it.
So, the afternoon of the big sky-diving event, I was lying on the couch trying to force myself to take a nap (something I rarely do) just to get through the rest of the day quicker so I could “get it over over with”. It’s almost comical now, because it wasn’t a butterflies-in-my-tummy nervous, or a palms-sweaty type of nervous. It was more of a foreboding nervous that I logically knew was silly, but couldn’t help to think about.
Alas, once again, I just knew I was going to follow through with it. No matter how weird I felt about it.
Cam & I are arriving to the airport where the tiny plane will pick us up and we can see parachuters coming in for landing from the road. We were both going into this a bit blind; we had asked a couple of friends who had skydived tandem before and they all had the same reaction: “It was awesome! You have to do it at least once in your life.” Annnnnnd… that’s about it. We had no idea what we were really in for, except that we were promised the thrill of our lives.
So, you can imagine our brief horror when we watched a parachute spiral to earth at an alarming speed. (Not to worry: we asked about it nervously when we showed up to check-in. Turns out it was a professional skydiver doing stunts. lol)
We waited and watched as the group before us got on the plane and then came back after skydiving – lots of tourists who spoke very little English, but their faces all said the same thing: that was freaking incredible. I was starting to feel less anxious and more intrigued.
When it was our turn to get our harnesses on, we met each of our tandem pilots. It was a little funny – Cam, a 6’1 athlete, is partnered with someone who’s a bit shorter… and myself, at a staggering 5’2, is partnered with a tandem pilot who is basically double my size. Luckily, both of them were professional and awesome people. We got our harnesses on and prepared to board the tiny plane. Without thinking about what it would entail later, my tandem pilot and I boarded the plane first…
And up we went! I don’t know exactly what happened, but the moment the plane left the ground, all of my fear completely left my body. I wasn’t nervous at all. I was sure. This was happening and there wasn’t any reason to be nervous. I was excited!
the moment the plane left the ground, all of my fear completely left my body.
It was an absolutely gorgeous southern California day. My tandem pilot pointed out the window at Catalina Island, the rolling hills of Camp Pendleton, and the far off Palomar Observatory – a pristine white speck on the beautiful mountain range. He promised that the view would be even more spectacular outside of the plane.
I. Was. Pumped.
Then it was time to get going! The individual skydivers went first, partially barrel-rolling out of the plane in excitement. Then it was the tandem skydivers. Cam looked back at me when it was his turn, gave me a thumbs up, and out he went.
Unintentionally, I was the last one on the plane. But this was totally okay because I basically dragged my tandem pilot behind me to get to the open door.
He held on to the bar as I stuck my feet out and curved my legs underneath me, head up, and hands on my chest restraints. As I hung from the plane, he gave me one last, “Are you ready?!”
Without hesitation, I kicked off the underbelly of the plane.
I can’t even describe that moment. There wasn’t any fear or reservations. I was whooping like crazy, but I couldn’t even hear myself, the wind was so loud in my ears. But I didn’t care. I was ecstatic! My tandem saw my exhilaration and turned us into a couple flips while I laughed like a crazy person, I’m sure. When we steadied, he tapped my shoulder and I put my arms out. It felt like floating, not falling.
It felt like floating, not falling.
He gave my hand a firm squeeze to make sure I was alright, and then pointed out over the ocean to where the sun was soon going to set. I can remember that sight forever… endless ocean, stretching out far beyond the horizon. It went by far too quickly.
About a minute after we had jumped out of the plane, he pulled the parachute and we slowed until it fully opened. We could now hear each other and I was still whooping and laughing like a mad woman. He asked if I was okay with doing some tricks with the parachute. And you know I was down for that!
We spun in circles and flipped around. It was so much fun. It was only about 2 minutes, but felt like much longer. As cheesy as it may sound, I put my arms out like a bird and it felt like I was flying.
When it came time to land, we landed on the ground softly and without issues. Even though I was the last person out of the plane we were still on the ground before Cam. I jumped around waving my arms excitedly when he came in to land shortly afterwards. We were both high on adrenaline, exhilarated with what we had just done. We jumped out of a plane?! We finally did the thing we’ve been saying we were going to do!
Walking away from that experience, I feel like I can face anything. Fear seems irrelevant. It reminded me that I can’t let fear rule my life. Spend time with people who push you to face your fears and follow through with the things you say you’re going to do.
Spend time with people who push you to face your fears and follow through with the things you say you’re going to do.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures of the event. So I’ll leave you with this photo of us in the car not 10 minutes after we landed. You can see a little bit of the crazy in our eyes, I’m sure.
It isn’t the last time we will be skydiving. 😉