“Ok. It’s time”
“We’re first?” My heart jumped and the next thing I knew I was falling out of a plane into what everyone on the ground saw as a partly cloudy day.
Skydiving had been on my bucket list for quite awhile and was frankly one of the scariest activities on my ever-growing list. But, I felt it was time. My wife Mindy had decided to end our 16 year relationship a few weeks prior and so I began the process of rediscovering myself as I healed. I also liked the symbolism of diving into the next chapter of my life. And so, I pushed my fear aside and signed up for a jump with my friend Erick.
Without a doubt the hardest part of the day was the waiting! There is lots of paperwork to fill out, a video telling you how dangerous the activity you are about do is and lots of time to question your choices in life.
After what seemed like forever, a short English man introduced himself to me as my tandem partner. He helped me climb into the harness and explained what would happen next. He explained how to fall with my arms tucked in, how to soar, the sign that he would deploy the parachute and how to land. I felt like I was in good hands.
A group of us entered the plane and sat in two rows with our legs on either side of one of two long benches. We were sitting backwards with was a fun sensation when taking off. As we climbed my excitement, my anxiety and my readiness to say goodbye to my old life grew.
At around 10,000 feet I got a little peak into what my dive might be like. The side of the plane opened like a small garage door and several eager solo divers each took their turn jumping out of the plane. “This just got real”, I thought as I turned to look at Erick, who was sitting across from me.
Finally, we made it to 13,000 feet and the garage door opened again. My tandem buddy did a final check of our equipment before nudging me toward the opening. And before I knew it, I was standing at the edge of the aircraft about to cross off a pretty major bucket list item.
I was surprised that we didn’t actually jump; instead, we simply fell into the sky. That feeling of falling last only a few seconds but it was the longest few seconds of my life.
When told to do so, I spread out my arms and soared. What an amazing feeling! I was flying! And what a beautiful day!
I could feel my arms flapping in the wind as well as the skin on my face, legs and anywhere on my body.
My tandem partner gave me the sign and the next thing I knew my body jolted up abruptly. The instructor reviewed our landing strategy as we sailed down to the ground. I used this time to enjoy the view.
After landing I felt like I was on top of the world! I left all the hardship of my breakup behind me in that plane. I landed refreshed and ready to face the next chapter of my life!