You are wondering why I wanted to try jumping off a perfectly good plane. I’m thankful that I have an adventurous brother who gifted me a birthday package that included video recorded and photography for tandem diving. Quickly we learned that we couldn’t just jump without consideration of the weather, wind speed, etc. Right up to June 18, 2008, I received calls from family and friends questioning why I would take this risk. Many familiar with extreme sports or activities have read and signed their life away on that waiver of various levels.
I don’t let fear define me, much less the countless life struggles and challenges I have faced all my life. I typically hear others wonder what I have not done or overcome. I thrive on positivity. I try to be surrounded by empowering, creative, empathetic, and adventurous tribes of amazing communities. Yes, I can be daring and risk-averse, and I embrace it with plenty of research, testimonials, and gusto! I think too many make assumptions that statistics capture the entire world population and don’t widen their perspectives to the rest of the information they read about, hear about or conclude after comparisons from other people’s influence.
Side note, more people die from careless driving than many choose to do very complex, risky, high adrenaline hobbies or sports. We only see a narrow view of all the data points, create judgments, and we tend to let our fear create negative outcomes through lack of or wrong decisions.
Typical things that tandem skydiving specialists worry about are if we have the correct wind speed, temperature, air pressure, elevation, how we jump, drop, expand, glide, safety harnesses, backup skydiving canopy for the main canopy, jumpsuit, plane to carry you to the appropriate height, staff to support and landing area. I’m sure there is much more they need to learn to certify, instruct, provide tandem skydiving services, and more.
My lesson was to ensure the harness around the thighs was not too tight. Otherwise, your leg falls asleep, and you cannot lift your legs when your instructor lands. One of the best pieces of advice was to just jump before the 5-second count in your head! This resonates with me in many decision-making moments after getting as much information as I can collect for my needs. Too many people get stuck with information overload and freeze when decision time comes.
Think positive and visualize you will be successful at your choice of activities. As a cable technician climbing utility poles to service cable TV and telephony for residential customers in 2000, I never believed/imagined in my head I would fall off the utility pole. I didn’t think or plant doubts in the universe that I would fall. I did fall eventually, and it was because of the ladder falling sideways in a very unstable area. I have no recollection of the memory now, if not for my husband remembering this incident. Even with the latter, I only visualized in my head I would be successful at completing my tasks and achieving my goals.
To me, tandem skydiving symbolizes defying the negative voices in my head that may creep up. I fight every day with my thoughts and perceptions of the world around me to break the status quo. I often strategize at various levels throughout my decision-making, personally or professionally. I choose not to allow hearsay, incomplete views, and fear-based narratives that aren’t always true to limit my choices in life. I want to believe that I can define my own story and how I choose to live.
I do invite you to be braver each day. Practice more regularly to experiment, not to stop or freeze from doing things you may like and love doing without even trying. Don’t let the noise of doubt, envy, bitterness, misinformation, or incorrect assumptions stop you from trying new things.
Life is way too short to spend ruminating and just dreaming of doing something. How about making that first step, being a participant rather than just an observer and experiencing the world with your senses holistically? Don’t let bias stop you or what negative people think to define you. It’s your life and story. Make the best of it while you can.