Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Skydive Your Fears Away

When I was a little kid, I was extremely afraid of heights. Extremely. Deathly. I can remember being on top of the CN Tower in Toronto with my family and being afraid even at the fact that my brothers were too close to the edge. I remember being at an amusement park refusing to get on board any sort of roller coaster. Yet, somehow, my arm was twisted enough to get me on the park's Ferris Wheel where there were undoubtedly white knuckles the entire way around. I don't know what it was that filled me with so much fear when it came to heights. Perhaps it was simply being lifted high in the air, and therefore being lifted away from security and the comfort of being on safe, solid ground.

I think that's a natural feeling. I would venture to guess that one of the most common fears people have is acrophobia (fear of heights). I am not sure what exactly caused me to - literally - take that leap of faith and go skydiving. I think over time, I grew older and realized that amusement park rides are designed specifically to give riders a fun - and safe - thrill, and that I'd have a much higher chance getting hit by a car when crossing the street than falling out of a roller coaster or over the edge of the CN Tower.

I admit, skydiving is a whole different story. It's on an entirely different level than a roller coaster. Skydiving is the holy grail of any adventurer. It's the zenith of most bucket lists, and it's pretty hard to outdo yourself after skydiving. After you go skydiving, you get stamped with a title of "badass" for the rest of your life.

Since it's the ultimate challenge, I don't expect many OHventurers to follow my lead on this one. For one thing, it is a rather expensive investment. In 2008, I paid $200 to jump out of a perfectly good airplane to free fall for about a minute and float down to the ground for another 10 minutes. Now when you look at it that way, it doesn't seem worthwhile. However, I promise you that if you have the extra cash and have the guts to do it...go for it!

Skydiving was sensory overload. This is why it was a good thing I spent the extra $100 to have a DVD full of photos and a video of my experience. If I hadn't, it would be so hard to explain, and I might have felt like I was dreaming and not believed I actually did it. The most frightening part is when you go up in the little plane and they open that door so you are staring down at the Earth below. That's your defining moment. Once you gather the courage (some would call it stupidity) to jump, the rest is a ride of your lifetime!

You don't feel that pit in your stomach when you're skydiving, because you oddly enough don't even feel like you're falling. It's more like floating.Your face and skin are all discombobulated , your mouth is dry and you can't hear much of anything with all of the wind in your face. I couldn't help but scream in joy and laugh at the experience. It was a thrill of a lifetime. The minute of free falling feels much longer. Once the parachute is pulled, it's smooth sailing. You can soak it all in and look around at the world below you. It's so very liberating that just writing about it makes me want to go do it again!

I truly believe that fears are just demons holding you back from truly living. My fears were thrown out the plane with me that fine August afternoon in 2008. I've come a long way from the little kid who hated ferris wheels.

Rushed with adrenaline right after I landed safe & sound on the ground after my first ever skydive in August 2008.

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