You’re standing on the inside edge of the airplane, leaning out over the open door to see the houses and grassy fields and people milling about like ants. This is the moment, in skydiving, where they tell you to trust, where they tell you to have faith, where they tell you the reliability of man-made machines and experts and statistics and all the things you’re supposed to have faith in, even though the ground is 1,000 feet below.
You’re at the Skydeck ledge of the Chicago Sears Tower, clutching your best friend’s hand and reaching your toe over to the glass-bottom viewing area that you know is reinforced by layers upon layers of thick glass, but you still can’t quite pull your hand away.
You’re staring into a man’s eyes, a woman’s eyes, the eyes of someone you’ve suddenly found yourself admiring a little too much, suddenly found your heart skipping a beat over, suddenly found yourself daydreaming about, thinking about a little too often.
These are the moments of adrenaline, of fear, of excitement, of dizziness.
These are the moments were we decide whether to cling to the familiar, or let go.
These are the moments where we realize there’s freedom in embracing every fear then tossing each of them aside. These are the moments where we discover there’s true freedom in falling.
And then we let go.
So often we’re terrified of what will happen next. What will happen when we jump out of the airplane? What will happen when we let go of everything we know and trust? What will happen when we give into something dangerous and unfamiliar and scary and new? Will we survive?
These are natural fears we all face—the fear of change, the fear of getting hurt, the fear of failing, the fear of falling.
We’re terrified of ending up face-down in the dirt with nothing to say for ourselves and nowhere to turn. We’re terrified of becoming empty, with no strength left to get back up on our feet.
So we hide. So we give up. So we push things away that make us vulnerable. And in doing this, we slowly destroy ourselves.
See, the real freedom is in trusting, is in throwing our caution to the wind, is in embracing what we cannot plan or know or even understand, is in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.
The real freedom is in letting go, letting go of every doubt, ever fear, every worry and embracing the moment. The moment of standing on the edge, the moment before pulling your hand away to walk fearlessly on your own, the moment before tilting your head to kiss that person you haven’t stopped thinking about since the day you met them.
The true freedom is in falling.
So please, take a deep breath and let go.