Skydeathing, Part II


So I skydive in three days, and I’m getting anxious, nervous, excited. I watched my friend Mike Lewis’ skydiving video tonight, which only ups my anxiety and my anticipation. We spoke at length today, and Mike described the first 30 seconds as—yikes—”terrifying.” But, oddly, it wasn’t the speed of the plummet that scared him, so much as the unfamiliar feeling of being held by … nothing. It’s akin to those dreams we all have, when you’re dropping, dropping, dropping, then—BAM!—you wake up startled and soaked in sweat.

Anyhow, my friend Bev thinks there’s a greater reason for me to be doing this—that it can’t just be out of wanting to prove myself or face death. She’s probably right, though I’m too wrapped up in the whole thing to ponder too deeply. Mostly, I think it’s the need to confront fear; to spit in its face and say, “F*** off!” I haven’t done that in a looooooooooong time, and I need to. I’ve become increasingly cautious with age. Maybe some of that is a growing sense of mortality, but … no, I don’t think so. Age is weird, in that it sorta works like a warm blanket. You become more and more set in your ways; comfortable; secure. It’s why 60s activists became 80s stock brokers; why (had he lived) Jimi Hendrix of 22 likely would have become iPhone spokesperson at 62. We’re daring, we’re less daring—then we’re not daring at all.

I know I’m going to die one day. I’m not thrilled by it, but while I’m here, I might as well live. And live strong.

So, dammit, I’m jumping out of an airplane—whether I want to or not.

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