thoughts on being thrown out of an airplane

One of the final things on my New Zealand bucket list was a skydive. Having never taken the leap before (har har), I totally did not know what to expect. Spending my final days in Queenstown relaxing and enjoying the scenery, I hadn’t made too many plans. More specifically, I hadn’t booked the skydive. I think that subconsciously I was putting it off in hopes of the weather ruining my plans. After a few uneventful days, I decided that it was time to commit myself to this true adrenaline filled test of fate. You can’t go to Queenstown, the adventure sports and adrenaline junkie capital of New Zealand, and NOT do a bungee and a skydive. It’s just not right.

So, the weather held out for me on the day of my scheduled jump. My pre-jump jitters were getting to me, and true to my nature, I started flapping my tongue and asking any question that would come to mind, one of which sticks out in my memory. I was assured by my jumping partner that no one had ever urinated on him, however, there has been a vomit incident here and there. Anyway, I was forced to put my life in the hands of a guy I just met (I don’t normally move that fast), and after being strapped into my jumpsuit, we went to get in the plane. These planes were about the size of a large SUV. What the heck was I getting myself into.

We climbed into the rickety aircraft last, which I wasn’t sure if this would be a good or a bad thing. Common sense told me that since we were sitting right next to the exit (which consisted of a mere plastic door) we would be jumping first. I did not choose to listen to common sense on this day and forced myself to believe that we would be last and it was still not too late to back out. The butterflies in my stomach were having a field day.

The plane took off with a shaky start, with everyone awaiting their imminent and uncommon departure from a flying object. The plane shakily ascended, along with my heart rate and my breakfast. As if this situation couldn’t get any more uncomfortable, I was forced to sit in the lap of this man to whom I am being strapped in and giving complete control of my life. Refusing to look at anything unsettling, I focused on the wall in front of me. Unfortunately, this did little to distract me from my impending doom. (Did I mention I did this voluntarily?) After flying around for what felt like hours, my partner asked if I was ready. To which I replied NO. Either he didn’t hear me or he didn’t care, I’m not sure, but either way, the plastic door was pulled open and I found myself inches away from falling 9000 feet. All the safety precautions to which I paid diligent attention went out that airplane door. On the brink of a panic attack, I was essentially picked up and flung out the edge of the plane. After dangling like bait on a hook for about 5 seconds, I was tumbling and spinning weightlessly, catching glimpses of the lake, the mountains, the plane, the clouds. Then, magically, we steadied and I was free-falling belly flop style through the air. It turned out that jumping out of the plane was the cure for my anxiety. Screams erupted from my chest and dissolved into the atmosphere. I was flying high above the snow-capped mountain peaks. This was the most awesome thing I have done to date. The parachute reliably went up and jerked me out of my bliss.

Reaching ground wasn’t as reassuring as one might think; I seriously could have fallen forever and been more than content with that. Luckily, no fluids exited my body, except for maybe some spit. Which now come to think of it, I hope I didn’t spit on my jumping partner. That wouldn’t be a very nice way to thank him for saving my life.

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