Just Jump

Take a look at Will Smith explaining his Skydiving experience.

 

A few years ago, around my 32nd birthday, I was asked what I wanted for my big day. One thing about me is that I am very specific on things I would like for birthdays and  Christmas. On this particular birthday, I wanted it to be bigger and better than the previous two birthdays.  I pulled out my bucket list and went straight to the top of the list. Sky Diving. Whenever I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, I would say Skydiving and a cake. After my 25th birthday, I started to take my birthday week off from work. This is the best decision I have made over the last couple of years. It gives me a sense of peace, a chance to reevaluate, and a chance to do what I do the best Sleep!! On my 32nd birthday, I decided to go to Atlantic City for a few days to relax, walk on the beach and have dinner at a few restaurants from my favorite chefs off of the food channel.
Side Note: Guy Fieri’s Chophouse and Bobby Flay Steak are great restaurants if you are in Atlantic City.

After I returned back from Atlantic City, I received an email from one of my friends that read “Are You Ready for Some Skydiving” I was thinking is this real, this has to be a joke. I looked at the email over and over to make sure it was really happening.  I was pumped to go and I called the place to set a date. The representative was giving me a rundown about the Skydiving experience and my excitement grew. The date was set for September 10 which was a few months away. Will Smith talked about the night before was the most uncomfortable night. Your mind is running 100 miles an hour, you can’t sleep and your stomach bubbles. I know that night I was up until 3 am tossing and turning until I finally went to sleep.  My alarm went off at 9 am, I got up and did my morning routine. I wasn’t in the mood to eat anything so I ate on a piece of toast. I was nervously pacing back and forth excited and fearful at the same time. An hour later I received a text message and an email from the skydiving place. The email stated my skydiving appointment was canceled due to airplane maintenance and to call to make another appointment.  I experienced two emotions after reading the email, one was a relief of the pressure I was under and the second was curious why the plane needed maintenance.

I waited a few days to reschedule my skydiving experience for the month of October. This time I knew not to stress myself out the night before. I woke up the morning of the skydiving jump and looked out the window and it was pouring down rain. I  knew another email was coming about canceling that day.  An hour later, I received that email and text message “Cancelled due to weather.”  I started thinking this must be a sign for me not to jump out of a plane. I kept the idea in the back of my mind going into the next year.  A week before my birthday, I decided to give it one more shot at skydiving. I called and spoke to the representative for about 45 mins. We went back and forth with dates because the springtime is where skydiving is very busy. The representative was giving me only dates for a Sundays in the months of June and July. We settled on August 5th and I was ready. I had finished reading the book by Steve Harvey called Jump and it coincided to what was about to happen. The Jump Book was pretty good and I would recommend it as a book to have in your collection. The passion behind the book talks about having faith and the confidence in God. By knowing that jumping will elevate our lives and we will be caught when we fall.

As Quoted by Steve Harvey:

If you take a leap of faith, God will open your parachute and “Give you life more abundantly.” Life is an incredible journey. It’s not good enough to exist—you need to live. You need to JUMP—to take a leap of faith, a risk toward the rich life God has planned for you.

The night before the skydiving adventure, my heart was pumping fast and I was excited like a kid the night before school starts. I didn’t need an alarm clock because my body was already up. I ate a light breakfast and got dressed. I called one of my therapist friends and gave them a rundown if anything went wrong. Pretty much my verbal last will and testament. My dog will go to my God kids, my life insurance policy, and tell my momma I love her.  I was nervous about being late and dealing with traffic on a Saturday morning. Traffic on 95 in the DMV is a major headache.  Once I arrived at the location the fear of what I was doing came over me. I wanted to get back in my car and head back home.
Once you get into the complex I had to sign in and review a waiver to sign off. It literally took 10 minutes to read through an entire packet of releases of liability. My heart sunk in my chest when I saw you agree not to sue if an injury happens while jumping or landing.  Say What?? I can’t sue if I get hurt. Instant fear came over me to the point I started getting stomach turns and bubble guts.  My cheeks started to clench up and not the cheeks on my face either.

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After the safety and jumping tutorial, I went straight to use the men’s room. I had to hype myself up not to throw up but I was a nervous wreck inside.  While you are out at the site waiting you meet other people and you have small talk. I saw a young lady get so overwhelmed once she was suited up to jump. It was kinda funny because she went from casual talking to the instructor to all-out manic crying. I was thinking in my head, you better not cry bruh! The training instructor told stories of people getting on the plane where one or two people refused to get out of the plane.
Visual: It was like trying to flush a cat down the toilet.

Then there were incidents where people have pooped, peed on, or even passed out on the instructors. That’s nasty!! I get it, your body will make adjustments for stress and anxiety.
The total time spent at the skydiving place was about 4.5 hours which covered the time required to check in, read and sign waivers, pick video/photo options, attend a brief training class, and gear up, fly and debrief with your instructor.  We had major delays due to the high winds during the morning which backed everything up. After waiting in the holding pool, your name flashes on the screen to get prepared to gear up. I go get prepared and I was shaking like a stripper. I saw my name on the jump schedule as E which was last to jump. This was tandem skydiving so I would be paired and linked up with a jumping instructor who was from El Salvador.
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As we are gearing up, my jumping instructor talked to me some more about the air signals discussed in the briefing. I was oblivious to the fact that the plane was getting loaded as we were talking. As we walking, he pats me to hurry up to jog to the plane. As I approached the plane, I see the plane already full of people ready to jump.  Hold on now!! Wait a minute! That jumping schedule said I was last to jump. Oh, Crap!!! Now I’m first to jump.  Next thing I know as soon as I sit down, the plane takes off. Wait, Wait, Wait a minute! Where is the safety briefing on the plane!!! I’m straight nervous, sweating, lips dry, and leg shaking. Then comes the news from the instructor, you will be jumping first after closing the airplane door. Clearly dude, I am sitting by the plane door. We start to climb, higher, and higher. At this point, I’m numb to everything going on and I’m clenching the safety bar with all my might. Relax my friend, Relax! How can I relax in a time like this?  I have been in small planes but this joint is small enough to stretch my hands out to touch both sides. We reach the altitude of 10,000 feet and the door opens. This dude tells me to stick my hand out the window, that wind was so cold.

 

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Then I saw the green light and we inched closer to the door. My feet went out to lean up against the plane. At this very moment, I looked up in the sky and I asked God to protect me and guide me from this day forth. As I’m finishing my quick prayer, I hear my instructor say on three we jump. We count together 1. 2. and as soon as I fix my mouth to say three we are literally out the plane. As you are falling all your fears go out the door and adrenaline kicks in.  It was rush and you realize you are literally flying down to earth at 120 mph. I realized just like Will Smith, that I was stressing and fearful for nothing.

 

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The moral of this post is to conquer your fears even if it means risking everything. After I jumped I realized that I smashed my fear of heights. I overcame something bigger that stood in my way. The best part is that I nailed the landing and haven’t looked back. I’m glad I made the jump and will do it all over again.

 

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I’ll leave you with another quote

It is a promise of God that when you do the right thing, an even better thing will happen… If you take one step, He’ll take two. When you are bold enough to step off in faith, to jump, that is when you’ll soar.” Steve Harvey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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