True confession. I get dizzy standing on a tall chair. For most of my life, I have had a fear of heights. High dives? If I wasn’t showing off, I wasn’t jumping. My heart still races when I look over the top of an open parking structure. I have steadfastly refused to take a hot air balloon ride for fear I would either fall out or jump on impulse. One time while in Hawaii, I moved furniture in front of the glass door just in case I might wake up in the middle of the night and jump off the 23rd floor balcony. On a chairlift, I remind myself, “Look ahead not down!”
So why am I leaping out of an airplane at 9,000 feet with an expected free fall of 60 seconds, to celebrate my 50th birthday next month? Good question.
I declared my intent to skydive after I jumped off of a 33 foot cliff in Negril, Jamaica 5 years ago. Believe me, I approached the jump off point several times before I finally took the leap. I remember thinking that I had enough time to question my sanity before I actually hit the water. You enter water with a pretty good smack and I learned afterward that some people actually fracture their spine doing this same jump. Yikes! Nevertheless the best part was that I experienced the exhilarating thrill of overcoming my fear of heights. In that adrenaline filled moment of swagger, I vowed that I would jump out of a plane on my 50th birthday.
Today I made my reservations at the School of Human Flight in Tallahasee, Florida. The School of Human Flight. How can you go wrong with a name like that? A long time friend, who is a professor at Florida State recommended the place. The irony is that my friend is an expert in phobias and I don’t think he knows that Mrs. Phobia will be channeling his vibes when I step out of the plane. The secret is out. I only wish he could meet me on the other side with a celebatory cocktail but alas, he will be on holiday with his family.
Anyway, the time is fast approaching when I will follow through on my craziest scheme. What kinds of neurochemicals will bathe my brain as I wahooooooo out of that plane and experience the free fall? I know some people speak of the experience as no big deal. For me, it WILL be a big deal because as you know, chickens can’t fly. So why am I doing this? No clue, but I suspect I will have the answer after I jump.