Recently, a good friend of mine asked me for any tips I had to offer for her very first skydive. While I have only gone twice, the act of considering my experiences allowed me to relive the many stages of emotions and thoughts I endured during my two dives. I have also asked various acquaintances about their own experiences and found the majority of views are quite analogous.
Without further ado, here are the twelve mental stages of skydiving:
- Sure, I’d do that! For years I said hypothetically I would skydive if the opportunity presented itself. When my mother (of all people) proposed the idea upon our family vacation to Aruba, I was quick to agree. It was not until the day of the skydive that I tangibly realized what I’d gotten myself into. “This is all happening so quickly!” thought the girl who for years assured others she was fine with the idea.
Realistically, the morning of, my boyfriend and I sat across the room from one another, drinking our coffee in silence.
- I’ll be up there soon. It’s a funny thing that before a person falls from the sky, that person nostalgically finds himself or herself staring up at it as though it is a familiar place he or she has visited before. I mean, in airplanes…
- I guess all responsibility is on me to not screw up. There’s something about signing myriad consent forms releasing the skydive company from all responsibility for one’s life and death that just makes a person feel at peace.
- Any last words? Why do they ask us this? Is this a legal requirement? Why do I need to tell you my last words? Do I get a last meal?
- Wow, this plane is small. Perhaps it was when they tied the door shut with what appeared to be a shoelace that my chest began to feel a bit uneasy. I could see the ground below through the crack in the door!
- I’m not landing in this plane. This is the most ubiquitous pre-skydive sentiment I have heard expressed by those who have managed to come this far. Somewhere between this point and the opening of that door, the sheer logic of what a person is about to do hits like that proverbial ton of bricks.
- Why won’t my boyfriend/friend/family member even look at me? Nobody cares if I die! They only care about themselves!
Apparently, we all become rather egocentric during this period of time. It’s that teetering-on-the-brink-of-death thing.
- The logic strikes again. That door opens and as the divers look below, there is a point where a (normal) person really feels the consequences of what could occur. For me it was something like, “I am such a moron.”
- At least it looks like I have some time before I fall to my death. The ground just looks so far away, and at this point, it’d be more embarrassing for me to back out than to just do it, so…
- HOLY &#^*%&, THIS IS AMAZING! Wow, it’s pretty cold up here! Thirty-five seconds of AMAZEEEEEEEE!!!
- This part is basically parasailing. Just don’t drop me too hard when you adjust the straps for the parachute!
- Landing time! This is typically the most challenging part where the most could go wrong. For example, on my second trip, which was early in the skydive season, we went up on two separate flights. For the first flight, the company miscalculated the wind strength and overshot the point from which the divers would jump, which caused my friends to land far off-course. One in particular broke the fall with his face in a pile of leaves and dirt, and then had to hitchhike back to the airport dressed as a cow and covered in mud. We found him bruised and scratched, but for some reason willing to do it all over again; such is the allure of skydiving.
Should you choose to try this, always be safe, and be sure to get photographs and video! We make the greatest faces while falling at rapid speeds. Enjoy!