About 6 months ago Brooke asked…”What do you want for your 40th birthday?” Without hesitation…Skydive. The chances of that happening I thought slim.
Fast forward 6 months…”Hey I found a Groupon for skydiving. Still want to do it?” “Yeah. Don’t tell anyone because the luck we’ve had this year, something will happen.” So we get a week out, things are looking good. Gobble Wobble… breezes through. Smoking turkeys… on schedule. It’s gonna happen. It’s an hour ride. I leave work early on Sunday to rest. Meet up with Brooke at 9:30 and we are off. As luck would have it we are about 30 minutes early. Fully expecting a hour long class we roll through and shiver through literally signing our lives away. I’m pretty sure they have every right to everything I own should I die. Let’s be real, nobody is reading what could “potentially happen” the staff is super cool-all military veterans that have jumped thousands of times, cracking jokes like ‘I didn’t take my meds,’ but all in good humor. I’m thinking Brooke’s never been in a plane, and we are going up in a 4 seater but with only one seat and a step that says, “back to earth.” Decision is made, Brook’s going first. We load up and sputter our way on the runway and with a good push of the throttle we start our journey. The pilot had a parachute on so things were looking good. The instructors are constantly cracking jokes and yelling to calm the fears. Half way up and they hook into your harness, then googles, and the order they will jump and then you slide back and to the left. Within seconds it happens…you jump. The immediate shock and crisp cold hits you then all of a sudden…nothing else matters…pure bliss and the thought of “what happens in the next minute will determine you’re life.” Parachute opens and you can see Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Greensboro. Amazing. The serenity is like no other. Just you, maybe a bird and a view that I heard of. One hell of a 40th birthday.
I did something I said I would NEVER do.
I went skydiving! Not to mention (totally mentioning), it was my first time in an airplane.
I woke up that day, changed into 4 different outfits, unsure of the weather, and I had a bottle of water for breakfast. Y’know, *just in case* I had no idea what to expect. I don’t even like to be on the top rung of a ladder. I HATE the drops on a roller coaster. Never will I ever ride Dropzone again. Once was enough. So trusting two complete strangers, one to fly me 10,000 feet in the air, and another who is going to strap me to his chest to jump out of a plane 2 miles in the sky, falling at 120 mph was C O M P L E T E L Y out of my comfort zone.
On the way up my instructor, Matt, talked me through everything. Thinking we were pretty high up already, he showed me this little thing on his wrist that read “1.0” he said “This means we are 1,000 feet in the air. We are going to 10,000!” *Insert nervous laughter here* “Okay!” He gave me a little tour of the Earth that i’ve never seen before. “Those little white buildings, that’s downtown Winston.” “There’s Charlotte right there” and “That body of water is Lake Norman, outside of Charlotte. Kind of crazy to see it from this point of view, huh?” It was. I had always wondered what it was like to fly, but I honestly had never given it a chance. Until now. He attached us together, double and triple checking the restraints, reassuring me “you’re not going anywhere without me!” Maybe he could feel my breathing, or lack of.. Telling me “If at any point you feel like you can’t breathe – scream. If youre screaming, you’re breathing. If the airplane seems dark at any point, that means your eyes are closed. Open your eyes.” We reached ten thousand feet. He yelled “Door!” and pushed it open revealing the step on the plane that read “Back 2 Earth”. I stepped on. It’s too late to turn back. He let go. Barreling out of the plane. 10 seconds of pure terror. I screamed, of course. Because #1 he told me to and #2 I really had to choice. The scene of many a nightmare is playing out in real time. Freefalling out of the sky, two miles from the Earth. But that fear quickly turned into the most freeing feeling I have ever experienced. He pulled the chute. The first and only words out of my mouth were “Oh my goodness…” We spent probably 5 more minutes gliding back down, and with expert presicion he toggled the chute to spin us around, taking in the views. It’s the end of November, the leaves are changing, it’s 50 degrees on the ground so probably about 30 degrees in the air. It was cold, it was beautiful, it was amazing. There’s no way to describe it that you could fully understand. You’ll have to experience it for yourself. Do at least one daring thing. Do something that scares the ever-loving **** out of you! Allow yourself, for 6 minutes of your life, to let go and be free. “Be Brave!” I did something I said I would never do, and at the end we paid to do it all over again. Huge shoutout to Piedmont Skydiving for making this an amazing experience and a beautiful memory!