It was 19 years ago yesterday that I fractured my back while skydiving. Actually, it was the landing that got me. As with nearly all skydiving injuries it was 100% human error. I hit the brakes too high and hit the ground too hard (and was subsequently drug through a serious crop of weeds).
Skydiving was a passion of mine for a few years. It was my 51st jump that laid me out flat and I retired my parachute for running shoes at 150. It may seem amazing but with only 150 jumps I was quite a novice. Most of my skydiving buddies logged hundreds and a few had thousands of jumps.
I was drawn to skydiving because it bolstered my confidence. Whenever I doubted myself I would think, "If I can jump out of a plane, I can certainly do this." It was the only outlet where I felt accepted for my goofy self and where I finally shook off a painful coat of shyness I lugged around for years. And, I did love the attention I received as one of a few females in a male dominated sport.
I watch my old jumping videos and realize I miss the sport terribly. But, I have to wonder if it is actually nostalgia for a different time in my life? A time when I had fewer responsibilities and money to spare. A time when my biggest decision was how many jumps I would make on a given Saturday.
As the years have passed I have mellowed out quite a bit. The extremist in me has accepted that I am a mom with a host of responsibilities. And, I don't want my human error to prevent me from raising my kids (I want to be the one to embarrass them in high school!). There may be a jump or two left in me, but for the time being I am content with my running sneakers. With my running shoes no action is required to prevent imminent death and at worst I might need a bandage on my knee after participating in the activity (grace is not a virtue of mine).
But, even as I run these days I do find myself looking up at the blue sky from time to time and thinking, "Today is a perfect day for skydiving."