It happened again. I got something stuck in my head telling me I was a wimp. Why do I let these notions gnaw at me? I can only take so much of that. It was time to take steps.
I made an appointment to go skydiving. I arrived, ready to tackle any apprehension, at the Pepperell Airport in Massachusetts. At the sign-in desk, I asked about the experience of their team and was told they would set me up with a tandem partner who had done over 8,000 jumps. After watching a long video and reading a packet of pages all saying I agreed there would be no liability even if an employee intentionally caused me harm, I was ready to suit up. I was going to do a tandem jump with Alex and paid for a video of the event. That video proved to be a fortunate choice. Working the camera was Carl who joked and put me at ease the whole time. In my jumpsuit, I did my best runway model moves for the camera. Then we got on the plane and I was starting to feel good that I was finally doing this. After a couple of airborne minutes, we looked high enough to me. But the plane kept going up. I could feel myself starting to get nervous. Carl with the camera asked me if I was nervous, and I told him how they told me Alex had done 8,000 jumps. He assured me most of those were simulator jumps. That made me smile, and I needed that. We flew so far up. I wondered what it would be like to step outside from these heights. I didn’t know whether I would lose all composure or freeze up with fear; but when I stepped out sideways from the plane, I did just exactly what I had been told to do. So far so good. I started my 90 seconds of free falling, and I knew all was well when the Carl kept telling me to smile for the camera. Shortly after, I knew the parachute must be working when he kept telling me to smile for the camera. After the parachute opened, it was more like wind gliding. I got to steer over lovely vistas. Alex and I separated for the landing. I had asked about the different ways to land, and I decided to land in a seated position after all I had read about some people spraining an ankle when they didn’t run fast enough during the landing. That worked well; no sprained ankle. Then the wind turned and the parachute covered me while I was seated on the ground. To my mind, that was a bonus! They uncovered me. I was in a state of bliss. So fun. Do take a photographer on your first jump.
I remember my nephew saying, “You jumped out of an airborne plane when it wasn’t on fire? Why?” Gotta love it. —TMLL
“Skydiving is a rush. Doing it naked could be more of a rush, but it’s nothing I would ever consider.” —Jud Tylor
“It’s good to have a lot of once-in-a-lifetimes in your lifetime. If you get the chance to skydive, go skydiving. If you’re offered a part in a weird Shakespeare play in San Diego, slap on some tights and rock out some iambic pentameter.” —Neil Patrick Harris
Buy it. Read it. And let me know what you think.