“…. but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Chris McCandless
I am a list person, I find I get more done with one. It keeps me organized and always in motion. I started a “Bucket List,” when I turned 21. It was proof I was an adult and capable of doing things on my own. I experienced lost from a young age and realized life is too precious to be taken for granted. I want to see and do all I can.
I use to pull my list out when something bad happened in my life, it helped me to re-focus my energy on a new experience. The New Yorker pushed me into running my first marathon and finding my love of the sport. The next guy who broke my heart pushed me to skydive. I couldn’t find anyone to go with me and this was one adventure that scared the crap out of me! I had to find someone, anyone! Most people I mentioned it to thought I was out of my mind. I finally turned to my,”old faithful,” Ashley. She seems to always say yes no matter what I am asking. Sure enough when I ran the idea by her she agreed. She was just as excited as I was. We loaded our cars and families up and headed north to Indiana. I do not cross the bridge every often, I have everything I need in Kentucky, this was a big deal. Three hours later we arrived at our destination. It was a tiny little airport in the middle of nowhere. The runway appeared to be the size of my drive way. As we parked I could feel a rush of adrenaline I have never felt before, I was scared. I was scared shitless! What was I doing? I had already paid for this one of a kind experience and made my family drive up here to live it with me. I had no choice but to do it. Today was the day I was going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. And what reason? I was hurt and depressed and I needed something to be excited about. I needed to feel alive, this was going to do that for me. When we walked in Ashley and I we were escorted to a back room to watch a movie and fill out paper work. The video explained skydiving in all it’s glory and danger. Following the video we were handed a stack of papers to sign. Every single paper had a line which read, “In case of death or dismemberment….” And for some reason we both laughed and signed. We signed our lives away without a second thought, we laughed! We waited patiently outside for our turn. We watched as tons of people fell from the sky and landed safely on the ground. Some of them were a little white in the face, but they were alive. Most of them were elated by their experience, words could not describe their faces. I was composed on the outside but secretly freaking out on the inside. As we approached the tiny plane my fear was taking over my entire body. I was loosing feeling in my toes (I blame flight or fight response for this). The plane was so small we were stacked on top of each other. It was also old and not taken care of. Duck tape held the windows on!!! Have I mentioned my huge fear of flying? My doctor gives me prescription drugs when I fly. Every little air pocket was like a crash to me. I was in a panic and trying hard not to show it. We asked the pilot to take us as high as he could because we wanted to free fall as long as possible. He tried to get us to 13,000 but the weather was not allowing us to do so. I think we made it to 12,000 feet. The pilot brought the plane to what seemed like a stop in mid air and said, “Okay, time to go.” Ashely was jumping first (there is no fear in her). It was 80 degrees on the ground and maybe 30 degrees when we opened the doors to the plane. The air was loud, I have never heard anything like it. She smiled at me as she exited the plane. It looked as if she was sucked right out of it by a vacuum cleaner. She fell so quickly it appeared painful. She was gone, falling to the earth at 125mph. What the hell was I doing? As we stood on the ledge of the plane I looked up to the sky, took a deep breathe and let go, of everything. I was falling. It was so loud I could not think or feel. I just was. It was the most amazing, intense feelings I have every had. In the 30 seconds of free fall nothing mattered, I was galvanized. Before I knew it the man strapped to my back pulled the rip cord and our parachute sprung open. I was not expecting such a strong jerk. I thought my neck was going to snap. As soon as our parachute caught the air, we were magically floating high in the sky. All was silent, the air had calmed. I was able to guide us for a little bit. I tugged hard to the right which caused us to do a few circles, it was the ride of my life! As we returned to the ground I was overwhelmed by the last 5/10 minutes. Ashley and I gave each other a chest bump as if we were two dudes. We were smiling ear to ear, our experience was powerful. I could check skydiving off of my list. Once again my head was clear.
Whatever you are afraid of, I challenge you to face it. Do not back down and do not let it control your life. I have been afraid of everything since I can remember but I try not to let it get in the way of me living my life. If you have always wanted to run but thought you could not, go try it! Lace your shoes up and start by walking. Walk as far as you can, adding more mileage each week. Before you know it you will be walk/jogging and then jogging and then RUNNING! You have nothing to fear. Take control of your life and be FREE. Make a list and start checking things off, life is too short to spend all of your time behind a desk.