Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Today is my 41st year on this earth and one of the most revealing of who I can truly become with a mindset shift. I began a journey 68 days ago, and haven't look back once. It has been one driven by health, heart, and centering. The growth that has happened speaks for itself, but I want to capture this moment in time that transcends past anything I could've ever imagined.
Let's begin 23 years ago, when I decided that the top item on my bucket list was going to be skydiving. I'm deathly afraid of heights, I panic on ladders (lol). However, it's the one fear that I love to embrace.
I'm a roller coaster enthusiast. (the higher/faster the better), but there is still a controlled environment feel. You have safety belts, operators, engineers, safety nets, etc. Don't get me wrong, it pushes the adrenaline into overdrive. It has been a great void filler in my quest to jumping out of a plane.
I continually made attempts to go, but it always had to include another person to experience it with. Which also meant you had to rely on the commitment of those individuals for that experience to happen. The one truism is, time will continue to go by and disappointment will grow. If you want to do something, don't wait. GO DO IT!
Fast Forward to 22 years, and 11 months later in a parking lot waiting for my son to get out swim practice. I'm scrolling through my phone excited about the scheduled bday trip to San Diego. I come across an advertisement from Rush49.com, and unique experiences based on location to get the adrenaline pumping. That's when the universe aligned and set in front of me an opportunity to skydive over my solace......the ocean. It was meant to be.
I said to myself, "if not now, when?" I purchased the voucher and made an appointment to finally check that box. There was no way I was going to tell anyone, so there would be no engagement around their sentiments of why? how? what? This was personal, and given my current journey, very timely.
Well it slipped out at dinner, when asked about my bday plans. You could imagine the surprise on my wife's face when that came out, but she reluctantly understood the importance for me, and immediately became supportive. >3 I didn't tell my kids until a couple of days before, so they didn't have too much time to process and over worry. I would own all of the worrying, but would also own the commitment to self.
Well today was the day. The appointment was set for 1p PCT. The company said the cloud burn-off happens around noon, so 1 would be perfect (they were right). I did some research the night before on what to expect, do's and don'ts, and watched a couple of videos (mostly of the company for whom I would be jumping with.) Played tennis in the morning with the wife and grabbed a smoothie with the kids after.
The busy activity helped to keep my nerves calm, and help time pass more quickly. I took a long shower and during that time created every possible negative outcome attached to this experience. The beauty of this was I could let it go down the drain with the hot water.
We started the drive, and since I'm a big hype music fan for any event, I had to find the right playlist to get and keep me in a positive mindset. It was an eclectic list to say least, with everything from Kirk Franklin to Migos. There was laughing, crying, and everything in between during that 20min commute to the airport.
We pulled up and managed through the waivers without problems. This is when the waiting began. I didn't account for a 30-60min hiatus before boarding. Figured I would go right after check-in. Guess the fine print should've been read better. So the time was spent with distractions from family, but the conversation never veered too far from death stats. (hahahaha)
My name was finally called, and the group (6 other individuals crazy enough to do this) suited up and received instruction on body position, tandem assignment, and LOTS of positive talk! I said one last goodbye to the family, as everyone tried to keep their best "no fear" poker face on.
We proceeded to board the plane with our tandem partner, and fly towards the ocean reaching a low 13,000 feet in the air. I unloaded all the questions on him (most I had the answers to) to help keep my calm, and started practicing my yoga breathing. Once we reached the ocean, the wave (pun intended) of peace came over me. In one brief moment I was centered.
The very next moment the door opened, and people started by my perception flying in a very aggressive manner, out of the plane. My heart rate spiked higher and higher, as we grew closer to the door. I blurted out all the rules to him one last time just to make sure I didn't kill us both with awkward body position (aka flailing about). and he counted us out. I stood at that doors edge, put my head back, and hooked my feet under the plane. Then off we went!
I can't really put into words what happened to me in that initial moment of freefalling for what seemed like 3mins, but was only 3 seconds. All I can say is at that moment, I knew I could do AN.Y.THING.A.
All the fear that was built over 2+ decades stayed on that plane, and I was shedding the last of my old self with every passing second in gravitational pull. I started to enjoy myself, talking to the tandem partner, and yelling my excitement into the camera. The parachute deployed and for brief moment time paused.
I was staring into a sky/ocean continuum. There was no end to the beauty of that view. This had to be what the afterlife experience for Dion would consist of. Then we started our slow and steady decent to our landing pad. The moment my feet hit that ground, I was forever changed.
One key lesson for me is while patience is a virtue, you can continue to progress. True progression happens when you leave the False>Evidence>Appearing>Real out of the equation.