Skydiving has taught me to appreciate flying, not fear falling

Has someone ever asked you that golden question: If you could have any superpower what would it be? Let me guess, it was during an ice breaker at a conference or *shudder* on a first date. I never had a good response and I was always changing my answer. Probably based on what Marvel movie I had seen recently. Can being Tony Stark be a superpower?

But now I have an answer. It’s flying. Basic, I know, just like pretty much every other person. But I have evidence to back it up, because I’ve been flying for about a year now.

If you read my previous blog post then you know I have a serious fear of heights. All the skydiving instructors can see it. My palms get sweaty. I turn pale. I start heavy breathing. The whole 9 yards. We have hand signals in the air for students and the one they give me every time is “relax” probably because they can see me panicking.

“So why do you skydive then you nut?” You might ask…

The simple answer: The rush is unlike anything you might ever imagine. You’ve never felt more alive than when your body is pumping with adrenaline. And once I’ve felt what it’s like to truly feel alive, I’ve begun to appreciate flying, not fear falling.

Whenever we talk about controlling a part of our emotions, I feel it’s always anger or sadness. Fear, just like any other part of us can be developed, stretched, tamed, and controlled. I have monumentally shifted fear in my head to consider it a POSITIVE emotion rather than a negative one and it has made a world of difference.

Fear is unknown. It’s unpredictable. It surprises you. Slaps you in the face. Most importantly it tests you, and your resolve. I could say the same exact words about life. Therefore wouldn’t it make sense that the point of maximum life is found at maximum fear? Will Smith said it best when he went skydiving:

“In one second, you realize that it’s the most blissful experience of your life. You’re flying. There’s zero fear. You realize at the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear. It’s bliss. Why were you scared in your bed the night before? What do you need that fear for? Everything up to the stepping point, there’s actually no reason to be scared. It only just ruins your day. The best things in life are on the other side of terror, on the other side of your maximum fear, are all of the best things in life.” — Will Smith

The truth of the matter is: I’ve grown more flying unsteadily through the sky than I have safely standing on the Earth.

I still have my fear of heights, but now I appreciate flying more than I fear falling. I can feel my resolve growing stronger every time I go and it’s carrying over into other parts of my life. I now have developed the essential skill to look at something that is mind numbingly challenging, or fearful, and to logically tackle it. It’s made me calmer and more prepared for unexpected outcomes. Although skydiving is perfectly safe, you do need to prepare for emergencies. I’ve learned to always know how I’m going to react to a situation, even if it’s simply: BREATHE…and check your altitude.

Now I’m able to get myself to drive up to Skydive New England every weekend, put on a parachute, and jump out of a perfectly functioning airplane. I can do it because I know it’s teaching me to love and embrace life and all it has to offer. The thrill of it, the energy, and the fear. Because life is found on the other side of fear, and I’m choosing to fly directly at it.

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