Just over two years ago I did a tandem skydive. It happened somewhat against my will. My then boyfriend and I came across a flier while on holiday for a jump site in Plettenburg bay, a place we’d be driving through the next day.
He was very excited and wanted to do it, and while about 10% of me thought it sounded fun, 90% of me thought volunteering to jump out a perfectly flyable airplane put one in the league of crazy they lock you up for. But I wasn’t going to admit to being scared so I agreed to do it.
So we did it. And I loved it. Sheer panic on the plane ride up, although my long haired, long bearded tandem jumper did soothe me with the knowledge he’d already done it 800 times. A short moment of self-admonishing as absolute fear gripped me as I immediately left the plane. And after that, unlimited exhilaration falling to the earth.
It’s the biggest high I’ve ever had and the rush of adrenaline makes you feel like you can do anything. My instructor, as he handed me the DVD of my jump, told that when I woke up and felt terrible about life I should watch it and remember the awesome feeling and know that I did it.
It was the perfect timing to do the jump then as I was just about to leave for South Korea to work as an English teacher, my first trip outside of South Africa apart from a brief stay in Malawi with friends years before.
As I was in the airplane coming over I was ready to restart and build up a new life. I was also determined to be less scared and try new things. I’d jumped out a plane, what could be more scary than that?
I’ve never been very sporty, if only because you spill wine if you run while holding it, but while I’ve been living in Korea I’ve looked to take on more physical activities.
Some of what I’ve done includes earning my scuba diving licence and diving in Korea and Thailand, snow skiing, river rafting, and zip lining through the Chiang Mai rainforest. I’ve ridden an elephant, rode a bicycle for the first time in fifteen years and cycled around Xi’ian’s city wall and a year ago started learning Taekwondo, my first attempt at martial arts and have earned three belts since then.
Completing these physical tasks has given me a mental boost of my own ability to handle life and, most often, given me a chance to see beautiful parts of the world from forests to ocean floor. I now have an even longer list of activities I’d like to learn and try.
Baz Luhrmann was right in the Sunscreen song “Do one thing every day that scares you”. And since life can get busy, at least do something once a year that scares you.
And don’t say that you are too old or it’s too late. In 2007 a lady of 92 years went skydiving in Cape Town, if she can take on adventure, so can you.
Would you try skydiving? Tell us your reason in the box below.