I spent the last three weeks learning how to sky dive and got my A license, a ticket for me to jump out of planes around the world - and loved it!
A shout out to the amazing instructors at Skydance Skydiving in Davis, California; and the incredible community of wingsuiters, base jumpers and other recreational jumpers I got to jump with in my ~30 jumps.
These were a few lessons I took away.
- That fear is only in the mind. The possibility of you dropping into the floor dead is highly unlikely. Often thoughts about “if this then what”, mostly all hypotheticals, start popping up and affecting my present state of mind.
- If you go after fear enough number of times, it goes away. I did not feel that much fear after dive 15 and exits were more fun! It did come back a little when I had to pack my own parachute. ;)
- The point of maximum fear is the point of minimum danger. Your mind plays games with you.
- The first dive, even though I had prepared well, I took more time to get started. But you can only meditate so much, only prepare so much. At one point that I could be more aware of - you just act and trust your guts.
- On that note, one my main learnings from the instructors, different ones at different points is to think less, feel more. I was being too analytical about safety, a lot of questions (ain’t bad) but to enjoy the jump, you have to let go and feel more.
- Often when you become fearless, you become complacent and thats when mistakes start kicking in.
- That you could be in more control than you think you are. And the feeling of complete control over your actions is liberating.
- You have to work for your dive - I have a new found respect for packing parachutes and further, thinking of it as an art. Its also fruit for the hard work.
- A lot of work is before the actual jump. Its the preparation behind the scenes, the things that you can’t see, the intangibles.
- Sky diving is not for the crazy, its for the folks who can deal with calculated risk, perhaps even take advantage of it.
- The more the fear, the more the thrill. That’s the way to look at it.
- Everytime I go up, I am amazed what humanity has achieved. Farms, roads, other planes, small cars that I can see, an actual plane that you are in that you can jump out of, etc.
- Packing such a big parachute into such a small bag has given me packing super powers. I used to dread packing my bags before traveling, but now its a challenge and I found my last pack to be super easy. Could fit in 20% more to my surprise.
- Fun is best when shared. The solo dives used to get boring after my jump 20, but its super fun when you jump with other people and do crazy maneuvers.
- In freefall, I felt a lightness, a strong presence, a calm and a right here, right now feeling that I hope to be in more of in normal life.
- The last 6 weeks in preparation was also a practice in not drinking alcohol, being disciplined and committed about getting everyday right and going back into the drop zone with the excitement and fear you had on day one.
- Even if the freefall is less than 80 seconds, time slows down. It actually feels much slower and you are aware of every small moment. Its beautiful.
- As Josh, the main rigger put it, we are not supposed to have this much fun as men. That’s skydiving. ;)
Here goes one of my favorite jumps, learning how to stabilize in the air.