If you’re going to do it, do it right!

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SkydivingFor those of you who know me, you don’t need a reminder that I have numerous fears. Most of them center on dying and leaving my daughter parentless since I am a single parent and need to be the responsible one 24/7/365. Riding a bike on the road with traffic almost gave me a heart attack. The ferris wheel was an experience of complete terror. I was a bore and became the purse holder at Six Flags. You get the idea. I like two feet firmly on the ground at all times, no moving parts.

Since this is my year of change, I’ve been working to move outside my comfort zone as they say. Being the person that I am, I just don’t stick a toe outside that circle of comfort to test the waters. I tend to fling myself over the line like a baseball player sliding into homeplate. Being the frugal person that I also am, I love a good coupon. Recently the perfect combination landed into my email Inbox with a bang – a coupon for skydiving! Yes, there is such a thing as discounted skydiving. Who knew?!

After much consideration… No, not really. I pretty much just clicked buy before I chickened out. I got my voucher and booked October 9th. I liked the date – 10/9/10. It just had to be lucky or it would look nice and symmetrical on a tombstone. One or the other. The Kid, of course, was thrilled beyond words at the thought and pouted because she’s not old enough to go herself. She’s the opposite of me in many ways. No fear whatsoever. She and I drove down to Skydive35 in Hillsboro, TX yesterday morning. The weather was gorgeous and clear! Only a couple people knew about my adventure because I didn’t want anyone scaring or talking me out of it.

They harnessed me up and several people checked it out as a safety measure. The harness was quite tight. To get it on right, the guy pulled with a lot of force on each strap. They gave a really quick explanation of what I was supposed to do when we left the plane. I tried as best I could to remember, but they reassured me that even if I did none of it we were still going to be OK. I hugged The Kid and told her I would see her in a little while. We then stood at the plane for further instructions. They pointed at the step and told me I had to firmly put both feet on it when getting ready to get out. Yeah, yeah, feet, step, got it. I just wanted to get in so I didn’t run off screaming.

The plane was tight and had one seat for the pilot. My partner, the camera guy, and I all sat on the floor cramped together. Very small plane, as in I could open my arms and put a hand out each window if I wanted. We quickly took off and had to circle a bit to get up to the 14,500 feet. I became strangely calm at that point. My mind pretty much was blank from what I remember. The plane ride was very nice and peaceful. After 10 minutes or so, we got the thumbs up and I got clipped and buckled to my partner. I remember noticing then that I was pretty much panting like a dog and they reminded me to take slow, deep breaths.

The door was opened and they pointed at the step for my feet. I clearly recall thinking “THAT step?! Oh no way!” I have a brilliant picture of my face at that very moment and it brings me to tears with laughter each time I look at it. I planted my feet on that sucker and realized my shoe was untied! I’m glad it gave me something to focus on because I honestly don’t recall looking beyond my shoe at the ground below. One, two, three… and we were out. Looking at the video, we actually did a couple rolls out of the door. I do remember spinning and feeling slightly light headed.

I can’t explain the feeling with any justice. I thought I would freak out, but it was so calm and exciting at the same time. I waved and smiled at the camera guy. I gave two thumbs up. It was unbelievable. I didn’t once think about falling, dying, chute opening. There was no perception of falling, heights, or time. Before I knew it, the chute did open with a jerk and we were calmly floating over the earth at 2,500 feet or so. My first words were “The chute’s open so we’re good now, right?” Thankfully he said yes. We floated and turned in circles, and leisurely winded our way down in 5 or 6 minutes. The view was beautiful and you could see forever. He pointed out lakes and corn fields.

My fear of heights never even came into play like I thought it would. Maybe it was because we were so ridiculously high up that my brain didn’t understand. Even during landing with the ground rushing up, I wasn’t bothered at all. We landed and I burst out laughing! I can’t begin to put how I feel into words. It is the biggest feeling of empowerment. I can now do anything I put my mind to and no one will ever tell me otherwise again! I smiled the biggest smile the rest of yesterday and am still going today. I would absolutely do this again. Plus they gave me a coupon for my next dive with my jump certificate. You know me and coupons!

My advice to you all is to face your fears and don’t let them get in your way. You never know what adventures and joy you’re missing out on if you let fear stop you from trying. Now I just need to figure out my next challenge.

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