#29: Go Skydiving
Well, first of all, I'm still alive! I'm quite sure my mom will be pleased to know - despite flinging myself out of a perfectly operational airplane and plummeting to earth with a hot guy named Fabrizio on my back - I am still intact.
I wasn't always sure that would be the case.
Last night, I cleaned my apartment. I figured if I smashed to earth I wouldn't want anyone to see my dusty bookshelves, right? God forbid. I also texted Sadie's "dog-mother" to say, hey, if I smash to earth could you pick her up by 7pm? She'll be hungry.
Yes, yes, I know skydiving is safe. In fact, according to the United States Parachuting Association, the likelihood of death-by-skydive is a measly 0.0007% but I have to say, the mental image of falling out of the sky makes that statistic feel a bit higher. So, for breakfast this morning, I allowed myself a donut. Because, with a 0.0007% chance that it could be my last meal, I felt fully justified to indulge in the sinful goodness of fried dough. With icing. And sprinkles. Because... #yolo
When I added "skydive" to the Birthday Bucket List, I decided to jump with Skydive South Shore. Located about 2 hours from Manhattan by LIRR train, they seemed to be the perfect choice for my big adrenaline rush: convenient, safe, and an unbeatable arial view of the Hamptons. Once I arrived at the jump site, I knew I'd made the right choice. In addition to their stellar reputation, I was introduced to an absurdly cool team who seemed (thank god!) fully competent at holding my life in their hands. That was a relief. So after my donut-fueled two-hour train ride, quick cab to the jump site, forms, questions, buckles, and deep breaths...we boarded (more like "folded ourselves into") the little plane.
To say my knees were shaking would be an understatement. Pretty much every bone in my body vibrated with nerves. My eye was twitching. I sorta regretted the donuts. The plane buzzed upward. The stunning views of crystal blue Long Island waters made me forget, for an instant, what I was about to do. Then suddenly...it was time. And, just like that, ignoring all primal instincts to avoid falling from a death defying height, we inched toward the open door of the plane....
...and tumbled out.
See that? Pure terror! Apparently, when faced with death, the first thing I do is drop an F-bomb. Good to know.
But then I quickly realized the sensation of falling was nothing like I'd expected. For the first second or two, I thought I couldn't breathe. Then I realized I could. Important! Then I realized this actually did feel like flying, in a way, and those few seconds of free fall felt more exhilarating than anything I've ever done. I felt spiritual. I felt alive. I felt so much joy that my bones vibrated with a whole new set of emotions. Fear was gone, replaced by wonder.
Wonder and awe during freefall are great, yes, but I felt a great sense of relief when the chute was pulled. Can't lie. That was the moment I knew I would probably be ok and I felt free to fully surrender to the sensation of floating above Earth. I felt the wind in my face and watched the ground reach up to welcome me. He even let me drive the chute! It was pure magic.
We landed with a little thud and slide. It was all over so fast! But the flood of elation I felt was unreal. Dancing and jumping ensued. As did much texting and selfie-ing and reassuring of the incoming jumpers.
My cheeks still hurt from laughing.
I did it!!