My Skydiving Experience

Jumping makes me look so asian

Random Observation/Comment #244: Everyone should go skydiving. I’m afraid of heights and I still did it. Of course, the guy just pushed me off after I was screaming like a little girl, but whatever… I made it.

First of all, if you want to go skydiving, here’s some personal advice:

  • Remind the guy to take more pictures. I only got around 20 stills and a 4 minute video, so I feel a bit shafted.  Also make sure that the guy doesn’t keep the camera looking at you and takes some aerial view of the surroundings.  I’m so bitter about the photos L.
  • Check the weather and go on a nice day. If it’s hazy or it’s too cloudy, I don’t think it’s worth it.
  • Talk to your diving buddy. Although I’m not going to not jump, it is interesting to know how many times the guy has jumped before and how long he has been doing it. Ask for interesting stories and I promise you there will be plenty.
  • When they open the door and you look down, try not to shit your pants. Not that I did, but looking down and seeing that you’re actually going to jump out is the scariest thing ever.  I wish I could have said a better catch-phrase than “Holy Shiiiiitttttt”
  • Try not to shit your pants on the canopy ride either. They will turn you in circles and it will make you feel like you want to throw up… if you’re a little girl.  I didn’t know that the turns were so abrupt and you completely face the ground – you’ll see what I mean…
  • The ground comes up to you quickly. The landing was actually really scary because I definitely thought we were going way too fast.  Not that I could do anything if I smashed into the ground at that point, but it’s just good to know.
  • If you’re a girl (or a guy, for that matter), don’t wear short shorts because landing on your ass is not a good idea. I would suggest wearing regular shorts and landing on your feet because the instructor will touch down first anyway.
  • Eat a good breakfast because if you don’t, you’ll probably puke. I jumped at 8AM, which I would suggest doing because the line gets ridiculously long afterwards.

And now to the reflection part:

This day was epic.  The clock in my living room read 12, but I had already started the day with a hearty breakfast, a nice 2.5 hour drive, and jumping out of a plane.  This adventure actually all started on Friday. Someone asked me what I wanted to do over the weekend, and I said, “I don’t have much planned – I guess I could go skydiving.”  I chuckled immediately after this comment, which I only do to indicate that I had no intended follow-through with this plan what-so-ever and I was crazy to suggest such a ridiculous thing.  After analyzing this reaction to skydiving, I asked myself, “Self, why not? What’s stopping you?”  A few factors jumped into my mind:

Is time the issue? Well, the full trip took about 2.5 hours of driving back and forth, and we spent about 3 hours doing some logistics, signing away our lives, going through some guidelines, and actually going through with all of it.  So let’s round to 6 hours on a Sunday morning, doesn’t seem like a problem – it sounds like a half-day adventure.

Is it the money? It does cost about $250 per jump with around $100 for the video and still photos.  So I forked over $350 for a 40-second free fall and 4 minute canopy ride – it’s not like I jump out of a plane every weekend…  Plus, I hear that if you go to Las Vegas, you can do a jump for under $100, so maybe that may be another route for you.

Is it signing away your life? I must admit that I was a bit nervous while initialing and signing all of their legal documentation that basically said “here is my life and you cannot sue us if anything happens.”  I was a little bit more nervous when they videotaped me – wait, we don’t use tape anymore – when they digitally recorded me reading the statement and signing away my life.  Other than that, it doesn’t help that the instructors jumping with you may have a very cruel sense of humor when telling stories amongst their friends.  If you overhear them saying something about this dude falling out of the harness and trying to flap his arms as wings, they’re most probably joking… most probably.

Is it the fear of death? If anyone knows me, they know that I take very calculated risks and I live a very careful life.  This spontaneous moment was a way to get the stick out of my ass and just do it.  I wrote the skydiving thing on my bucket list.  Honestly, when was I going to start crossing this stuff off – when they diagnose an incurable disease that leaves me 6 months to live?  it’s just something I had to do to get the ball rolling again.  I needed something to make up for my lack of traveling, and I wanted a boost of inspiration.  The lists of goals are supposed to be realistic, so I might as well make some effort to do these things for myself.  So much time is spent doing work for others that I might as well treat myself to a purely selfish thrill.

Are you just chicken-shit? I am afraid of heights.  I get nervous, my knees turn to jello, and my heart races when I look down the center of the stairway on my way up to a three-story walk-up in Lower East Side.  Yet, with this fear, it has driven me to hike up over a dozen mountains and jump out of an airplane.  Fears like these are not supposed to restrict your options – I’m not going to be a bubble boy.  Fears should motivate you to try and conquer them.  To be honest, I am still afraid of heights after everything I’ve done.  However, it’s when I am out of my comfort zone and I just let go of my idea of control in this life that I feel free.

As I crossed this off of my to-do list, I felt satisfied, but oddly disappointed that I did it in such a short amount of time.  It basically took no skill to accomplish, and yet, I made it such a big deal.  Reviewing a lot of my goals, I found that much of them are generic and seemingly just “cool” to do.  Although I firmly believe that life is about the story, I also believe that we need to earn our privileges.  With this in mind, I will rewrite my list of goals and add a bit more involvement and dedication for future endeavors.  Well… I’m probably still going to do some cool stuff.

~See Lemons Skydive