I’m free fallin’!
On Friday morning, August 15, my daughter and I did something I’ve wanted to do for a couple decades: Skydiving.
I was a bit of a mess in my early 20s, like a lot of people are. I was completely engaged in my alcohol and pornography addictions without recognizing it, had not yet had my bipolar disorder (which ran heavy to the manic) diagnosed and had so many of my priorities out of whack that I wonder how I got through that time with less overall damage than warranted.
But, I was also an adventure/experience seeker and someone who didn’t let fear rule my life like so many people around me. I saw personal and professional opportunities and I went for it. That was half a life ago and with the perspective of more than six years of recovery, I can recognize I wasn’t all bad back then. Despite making poor choices a lot of the time, there was still a lot to my personality I retain today and now simply come at things from a much healthier, wiser perspective.
I didn’t get to skydive back then. I just never got around to it before getting married and starting a family. The crazy things you want to do take a back seat at that point and priorities change. Now, 20 years later, my adventure-seeking daughter (I guess I did rub off a bit on her) agreed to go with me. I figured while I still have what’s left of my knees, it was time to get this off my bucket list.
It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. If I had a terminal disease, I’d try to do this every day because for those few minutes, especially during the 30-40 seconds of free-fall, you’re thinking of nothing and just taking in the visceral, exhilarating world around you. Yes, jumping (more like falling) out of an airplane feels very foreign and that first tenth of a second is a shock to the system, but you quickly gathering your bearings. You know that you’re falling at a great speed, but it’s not scary because you’re two miles above the ground and know you’re not going to hit anything. The wind is coming at you, so it’s not a feeling of weightlessness, it’s just a feeling of freedom unlike I’ve ever known.
Once the parachute deploys, the most exciting part is over, but gliding down to the ground reminded me a lot of the hot air balloon rides I’ve been on, only faster and more exciting. I worried that landing was going to be rough, yet it was just my butt hitting ground at like 5 mph and dragging seven or eight feet and didn’t hurt one bit.
If you’re ever in Maine and looking for something amazing to do, look up Coastal Skydiving because these were some of the safest, friendliest people I’ve ever met.
I would go again today if I could. If I were 25 and had the same experience, I think I may have looked into it as an actual hobby. It’s expensive and I’m past my prime physically (those were two good weeks), but I will go again at some point. It had that much of an impact on me.
Enjoy some of the photos and a short movie from the experience. As for losing my glasses…whatever. I had extra pairs at home and it was just a small price to pay.