Saturday was my second-time sky diving and I am telling you, there is no feeling like it in the world! I was incredibly nervous though. Not for the jump, although I do I always get nervous for that. No. I was nervous for the landing. You see the first time that I jumped I completely messed up on the instructions, put my feet down way too soon, and ended up being dragged along the ground face down where the instructor ended up on my back. It was not at all a graceful landing and I ended up with many grass burns all over my legs and arms. I was super lucky that I didn’t end up hurting or tearing anything as well. So, this time, I was even more cognizant of the landing. And terrified. I showed my instructor the pictures of the jump from last year and listened carefully on how to avoid that again. He asked how something like that happens. And I knew the answer immediately. Number one. I did not listen close enough. Number two. I thought I needed to maintain control and help. Turns out, I actually needed to let go of control and just let him do his job. This time I listened closely and I followed directions. I also nailed the landing!
So why on earth do I enjoy jumping out of a plane? I thought about this as I got on the propeller plane, fastened my seat belt, and watched as we got further and further from the ground. As everything began to just become blobs below us. My hands began to sweat and the thoughts raced through me…” what in the hell am I doing?” I also thought, “I will NEVER do this again after this!” “What will happen to my animals?” “I wonder how many people died today already jumping?” “What if I throw up?” “Did I turn off my curling iron?”
My instructor fastened himself to me and as we began scooting forward I could see the jumpers in front of me plummeting too their death at warp speed. I cannot even describe to you what it looks like as someone is falling out of a plane. It’s fast. And it’s terrifying! Then suddenly, it’s my turn to jump. Left foot forward, right foot back. Don’t look down (which I’ve done both times. I like to see where my body will splat.) Head back. Back arched into your instructor. One, two, OH CRAP!!! We are out of the plane! Head first we go, flipping in all sorts of directions. The adrenaline kicks in fast! The rush and feel of falling fills your body! There’s no turning back now, so you might as well let things fall where they may and enjoy the ride down!
We took photos as we plummeted down, me just wanting to watch everything around me. I had no time for the camera, and we all know that is unlike me! Then the free fall is done and you watch as the camera man quickly falls out of site below you. Your parachute has opened and now you are floating. But by no means is it boring! You are still going incredibly fast. But now is the time that the instructor allows you to play with your flight down. You get to steer the shoot, left, right, fast circles. It’s pretty cool especially when you look at how small everything is below you and you realize there are just two of you in the world right now. The wind is your only music.
Then comes the scariest part…you see the ground quickly approaching and you know that it’s hard. And if you don’t land correctly, you will get hurt. And ain’t nobody got time for that! This time though I was guided through step, by step with instructions. Lift your legs up, bend your knees, slide on your butt if you need to. I didn’t need to! Because my instructor told me when to put my feet on the ground.
And once we had landed perfectly…I wanted to go again! I am a thrill seeker. An adrenaline junky, as you can probably tell. And what helped this? Having an amazing instructor who helped me feel comfortable and confident along the way. An instructor who helped me to engage the entire time and let go of the control that I felt I needed to have. An instructor who gave me confidence in knowing, I would be ok. An instructor who clearly communicated with me through the entire jump, from start to finish. An instructor who made me feel safe.
I know many wouldn’t even consider jumping out of a perfectly working airplane. I get that it takes someone incredibly crazy to want to do it! I don’t think I would ever want to do it alone. I love the security of knowing that someone else is in control and going to get me down to the ground safely. Unless he passes out, in which my cousin asked me, “What happens then?”. I have no idea…I’ll ask next time I guess! But this jump, I knew this guy had me, as he triple checked that I was completely attached to him. And as he pulled my head back to stop looking down. Now, with the confidence that I can land correctly, I cannot wait for the next time I jump and can once again let go and completely forget the world around me, giving up complete control to the man behind me! It’s an incredible feeling in more ways than one. Even though it only lasts about a minute and a half. My first jump I learned the beauty of when you fall, you gotta just get back up. Something that is so important for all of us to remember. And both times I left knowing I can tackle the world. I mean, if I can jump out of a plane, I really can do anything!