Don't be around people who make you question your self-worth. You are stronger than that.
When I think about or tell people the basics - climbing to an elevation of 10,000 ft. in a five-seater plane on a cloudy, drizzly day (by the way, "drizzle" at 120 mph isn't like the "Oh, I don't need an umbrella to walk to the car. It's just drizzling." sort of rain); standing on a 6" ledge at that height in a slightly oversized, Kentucky-blue jumpsuit with black rectangle accents; crossing my arms, leaning my head back and jumping out with the parachute-toting, tandem skydiving instructor I only met about thirty minutes prior - I'll admit that it sounds pretty outrageous. I promise you, though, it didn't feel that way at all to me. Exhilarating, surreal, inexplicable, yes. Scary, careless, unsafe, no.
I realize that seems to make very little sense.
Well, here is my rationale...
1. The staff at Skydive KY in Elizabethtown, while professional, was friendly and laid-back. They had an office dog. They didn't offer cliche or corny jokes about flying/jumping/landing. I did not hear "dude" once. They suggested that we would have fun, but never implied that we were embarking on some life-altering adventure. In short, they seemed capable, but relaxed. I had avoided talking about the trip to anyone beforehand because I did not want to answer questions or be burdened with others' fears or excitement. I appreciated that in the two hours or so before the jump, the time when we were signing liability forms, being trained, and watching other people jump, I could still live in this environment of relative calm, devoid of nervous chit-chat or unnecessary verbal build-up.
2. I trusted the person I was with. I never questioned whether Lee would do it. I never worried that I would have to talk him into it and in so doing, make myself more nervous. I knew that if anything seemed askew or I was in any danger, he would stop it. I knew that we would both have fun and not take it too seriously. I knew he would be up for Cracker Barrel biscuits afterward.
4. I realize that I could die tomorrow on my way to the library. I realize that if we worried about everything that could go wrong, we would do nothing, whether that was mundane tasks like driving to the grocery store or extreme sports like skydiving.
5. Even though I have certainly made mistakes, done my fair share of stupid, stupid things, and have regrets, I know that in the past few years I have consciously tried to live the best life I can live. I have made hard choices, I have taken chances, I have tried to be more open with my feelings, I have pursued some of my dreams, and kept hope that the untouched ones might be fulfilled. I guess I am just more of the Avett Brothers mindset, "if I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die."
Plus, as i said, jumping out of a plane really isn't as scary as it sounds.;)