I jumped out of a plane yesterday. It was terrifyingly amazing. I absolutely loved it.
My wife wanted to get me the gift of skydiving for my 30th birthday present. I have a history of doing mildly dangerous things like this. I played full contact sports in high school. In college I ramped it up by joining the rugby team. From the ages of 18-25 I went to the ER at least once a year. I was the stereotypical guy who would do the type of things that would makes parents ask, “What were you thinking?”
Obviously I wasn’t.
I once went long boarding in flip-flops and ended up crashing at about 25 mph and spent the evening pulling asphalt out of my flesh. I once thought it would be a good idea to chase a bear with an oar and try to get close enough to try and jump on it. I went to the ER after landing on my head after I rode down a snowy mountain side and got airborne off a snow ramp I made. Needless to say, my body feels old now.
My wife always had a rule, tell her about what I did after I survived it. I distinctly remember forgetting to do this after I hiked Half Dome and spent time on the “diving board.” My wife thought I died because it took me so long to get in touch and say my standard “I’m alive” line.
Basically, sky diving is my mature grown-up version of thrill seeking I guess and fortunately my wife is perfectly fine with it. I think I desensitized her, maybe…
For me, fear always plays a part in this nonsense. It’s what makes it fun and exciting. The adrenaline rush is something that you can’t replicate and once you experience it you want more. I think my wife gets it, and since she is awesome, she let me jump out of a plane.
Not everyone was so supportive. Before I jumped I told a few people my plans but I had a couple of responses that surprised me. I was asked, “Think about your children! Why in the world would you do something like that!” I was described as immature, and I was told that maybe when I turn 35 I’ll finally grow up. I was also asked why in the world I would do something so dangerous.
Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. People operate out of fear and fear affects judgement. Fear paralyzes, it prevents action. Now I’m not saying I am fearless or that everyone should jump out of planes, but I am saying that I do my best to not let fear dictate the course of my life.
I think fear is why millennials live at home with their parents, why they don’t go after jobs that they might fail at.
I think fear is why the parents of millennials raised their kids the way they did. The called them special and gave them participation trophies because they didn’t want their kids feelings to get hurt. Now those kids are afraid they aren’t special, that jobs don’t hand out participation trophies.
I think fear is why the grandparents of millennials shake their heads and say things like “Why in the world would you do that?” when they decide to jump out of perfectly good airplanes.
Fear is the enemy of faith. What is interesting about faith is that it can be scary. It’s believing in something you can’t see, something you can’t know, something that you’re not sure you can even do. Fear is an excuse to play it safe, but when did Jesus ever tell us to play it safe?
Maybe I’m just crazy, but I appreciate life more when I do things that require faith. I feel closer to God, especially when I consider what would happen if my parachute didn’t deploy…
Thanks for reading!