How Skydiving Changed My Life

May 2013, I did something that had always been on my bucket list.  I never thought I would have a chance to actually cross it off of my very ambitious list that included things like a road trip across the US, eating sushi in Japan, and swimming with the dolphins.  I have always considered myself a sort of thrill enthusiast, enjoying a good scream on a rollercoaster or stomach dropping ride at Six Flags,  but skydiving was different.  It was jumping out of a perfectly good plane.  As a logical thinker I would ask myself why would anyone in their right mind do this?  And by the end of this story, I hope I inspire you to chase your dreams as well.

It was just a few weeks before I walked across the stage to earn my bachelor’s degree.  I had been accepted into the grad program at UNH and set myself another two year plan of being in the classroom, reading books, and taking tests.  I was excited and yet asked myself, is there more to life than sitting in a classroom?  When will I feel like I’m really living?

On the morning of the skydiving appointment, I met my two co-workers at work, where we would take the Port Jefferson ferry across the “pond” to Long Island.  From there we would have some more time in the car until we reached the small airport.  During this car ride, as I sat in the backseat, hoping I could continue being brave and fearless, I sent several final testimonial text messages to probably my five closest friends.  I hadn’t told my mom I was doing this, but did hug my sister who lives upstairs and told her I loved her.  Getting a chance to say goodbye, if God forbid something had happened during my adventure somehow calmed my nerves.  I shared some words of how I felt about them to my loved ones who had mattered most and had always gotten me through my darkest days.  I had lost a friend a few years ago to cancer and never got to say good bye.  I couldn’t imagine letting my friends go through the same thing all over again.  Once we arrived at the airport, we signed a huge book of consent forms signing our life away, and watched a safety video.  Finally, we were ready to suit up and go on our adventure.  Once we were introduced to our instructors, and there was no cloud coverage, we headed down to a very small plane.  I had calmed myself down until we were in the air and were able to look down from the plane and got a glimpse of how high we really were.

It was finally time to jump and somehow I managed the short end of the stick by going first.  The door to the plane swung open to a strong wind as my attached instructor asked if I was ready to do this.  The next 8 seconds were an unforgettable, indescribable feeling.  After that, the cord was pulled and we floated back down to earth.  It was like I was falling and superman had saved me and was helping me back to the ground.

We made it to the ground safely and my legs were as giggly as Jell-O.  BUT I was alive!  I had survived jumping out of a plane.

Well it was a fun day but it was much more than that for me.  It changed me spiritually, emotionally, physically and touched me right down to my soul.  In that moment, I had realized that anything, and I mean ANYTHING is possible. The sky is literally the limit.  I realized in that moment that I was going to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in just a few weeks and would be ready to start a new chapter, turn a new leaf and be on my way to being able to cross more things off my list and live a successful and challenging life in my career path of choice.

Now, as I am finishing my second trimester of graduate school I realized this has changed my approach of handling challenges.  I use my experience of skydiving and apply it to the classroom.  No presentation, exam, or group project is impossible to do and when I get scared, I just remember how I jumped out of a perfectly good plane and survived.  UNH is a great environment that provides a safety net when you want to take chances and try something new. Life is too short to not do things you didn’t think you could do.  I learned never be afraid to take chances and always believe in yourself.   Do what you want to do! Follow your Dreams! Live with a purpose!

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See my skydiving video at: http://youtu.be/aL8E-vVdgaA

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