I’m going skydiving.
I’m going to dive from the sky. Toward the ground.
I should have seen this coming, really, when I started working for a company as deliciously unorthodox as mine. I should’ve known what I was getting myself into when I signed my offer letter. It should’ve had fine print that said, “WARNING: This company is really cool. In fact, probably too cool for you. You should probably just know that now, so it won’t come as a surprise later when free falling from 15,000 feet is considered a team building activity.”
For one of my parents’ (early) anniversaries, my mom bought my dad a pair of skydiving tickets. He opened the envelope, looked up at her, and promptly slid them back across the table. “There are two things you should know about me,” he told her. “I’ll never board a sinking ship, and I’ll never jump out of a perfectly good airplane.”
Mind you, my dad is a 20+ year military vet, whose hobbies include hunting and collecting knives. And even he found skydiving to be not his cup of tea.
And who could blame him? By some accounts, it goes against our most primal human instincts to leap from a flying vehicle and plunge toward the Earth. Many would (understandably) prefer to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground, where gravity is a close friend and not something to challenge and tempt. It takes a very specific kind of person to be drawn to this experience. My mom is one of them, my dad is not.
It sounds like history is doomed to repeat itself, because Taylor had a similar reaction when I told him about my pending adventure. I imagine he looks at skydiving the same way you might perceive people who practice self mutilation. Dangerous, confusing, and inconceivably enjoyable. Suffice it to say he wasn’t especially thrilled with this idea.
I can’t deny that when this activity was announced to the group, some butterflies certainly sprung up in my esophagus. My eyes bulged out like water balloons. I clutched the edge of my seat like someone might just push me out of it right then and there. And I wasn’t the only one – around the conference table, some immediately refused, others’ hands shook, still others just sat in horrified silence.
That night, I laid awake in bed imagining what it would feel like to board a plane with the intention of jumping out of it. I wondered about the oddest little details – what color would my parachute be? Would I have to walk around strapped to someone, or does that happen right before? How long is the plane ride before you jump? Will my ears pop?
My heart pounded in my ears just thinking about it, and I wondered if maybe Taylor and my dad were right after all.
But then I remembered my mom.
Upon my dad’s reaction, my mom didn’t return the tickets. She found another partner, took the leap, loved the experience, and that picture is still on my parents’ fridge to this very day.
So, regardless of the absurdity of JUMPING FROM AN AIRPLANE as a RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY… I’m in.
Because at the end of the day, I am my mother’s daughter.