I’ve said for the longest time I would NEVER go skydiving. I was terrified. Then when my friend Michael passed away from a skydiving accident I decided I would truly never ever do it. Well as Justin Bieber says “Never say never.” My Dad thought we should “do something crazy” for my 30th birthday. He had been skydiving once and suggested that’s what we should do. I didn’t make a decision right away, but after thinking some more I decided “why not?” Plus I thought Michael would want me to. It was one of his favorite things to do. We would be jumping where he last jumped and where his ashes were spread. I thought it would be a cool tribute to him, being his birthday was the day before mine and I also had a bandanna he used to wear, so I could wear it on my jump. Awesome of course.
We headed to Taft in the a.m. and the weather was absolutely perfect. I didn’t want to think too much about jumping from a plane or anything about the situation really because I knew there was a high possibility I could break down. Taft Skydiving had a tribute to Michael on the wall and knowing he was there gave me strength and made me smile. I didn’t even read the pages of papers I was signing my life away on, I just initialed everything as fast as I could as gave it to the girl at the desk. The guy I was tandem jumping with was also named Mike and he knew Michael as well. He was one the coolest dudes and he made me relaxed. Also, I think being in Jamaica for a week also helped a little.
After a short video and a few quick instructions it was time to get in the little plane and head to 15,000 feet. I thought for sure I would start to freak out, but I was strangely calm. I can honestly say I didn’t get nervous once. I was too excited and kept thinking about Michael, the experience I was sharing with my Dad and that you only live once.
The views from the plane were incredible. We could see to the ocean and to Mammoth Mountain in the other direction. After about a 15 minute cruise the pilot gave us the two minute warning. I high-fived my Dad and watched him step out the door first, then side flip out of the plane. I started to psych myself up. Mike and I scooted to the door and I felt the cold air blowing. We then stepped our left foot on the ledge. Mike grabbed me and said “cross your arms and tuck.” We front flipped a bunch of time and it was one of the most amazing things ever. Definitely my favorite part. Although we were flying towards the ground at 120 mph, it wasn’t scary at all. It was incredible. I even forgot the chute wasn’t open yet, I was just enjoying the fall. I screamed for the entire minute we fell until Mike pulled the chute and we started to fly. It was invigorating. We flew and I steered the chute on the way down and Mike landed us to safety. I got down and instantly wanted to do it again.
I am so happy I did it, overcame a fear and did something I thought I was really never going to do. Another check off the bucket list. Thank you sooo much Dad. I am so lucky to have shared the experience with you and I am so happy I could do it for Michael. Nothing but Awesome. —TS
Could any of the other girls beat my Awesome yesterday? Decide for yourself at 30daysofawesome.com.