This last summer my friend and I decided it was time for us to make that next big step in our lives; jumping out of a plane. Whether it's Tom Petty's "Free Fallin" or Tim Mcgraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" lyrics, there seems to be a mutual agreement in our society that you aren't really living life until you've almost lost it. For some people, that means paying a lot of money to jump out of a perfectly working plane, for a five-minute rush. That was us.
Instead of only feeling an immense amount of fear and being thankful I'm still alive and walking, skydiving taught me so much more.
1. This life was meant to be lived, completely and fully
You can't drive a parked car. In order to find out where we belong or what we want to be doing, we have to change gears. It's so easy to get caught up in the flow and go through the motions in our short time here. Sooner or later, we end up looking back at the time we lost and ask ourselves, "I have no idea what I am doing."
This is normal and a part of the journey, however, we can't expect to find the answer by continuing to sit in our parked cars. If we don't dive completely into the opportunities given to us, there is no point. Our lives weren't given to us so we could kinda do this lifetime thing. We were given a gift that was meant to be fully experienced.
2. Doing the things that scare you will grow you
I know it's scary to jump out of the plane (literally and metaphorically) but it's a necessary part of life. I'm hesitant to say that every scary thing you try will end up being pleasant, because often it's not. But that's the point. Making yourself uncomfortable is probably the best thing you can do because there is a guarantee that you will learn something. How do you find out if you like a certain food or not? You try it.
The same rules should apply to our humanity. Hang around people with different beliefs than you, ask out the cute guy/girl at the coffee shop, quite the job, take the job, talk to the old man on the bus, ask your New American neighbor if they want to have dinner. It will make you uncomfortable I'm sure, but it will challenge you and our challenges lead to growth.
3. You weren't meant to do it alone
There is no way I was jumping out of that plane without my friend by my side. If I didn't have her positive energy convincing me how great it was all going to be, I most likely would have bailed; or pooped my pants. A lot of times we let our pride keep us from being honest and vulnerable with each other. We like to convince the world we have no problems and according to our social media have nothing but a #blessed life. The problem with this veneer is that it takes away one of the most important things we have, each other.
There's a difference between being around a community and actually being a community. We need to stop hiding our human flaws, pretending they don't exist, then judging others hardcore when they make the same mistakes. Confess it, own it, and move on.
4. Having fun should be a given
I know this may sound redundant or cliche, but I think it's important. Our world struggles with this balance between work and play. Why can't we do both? There seems to be this unwritten rule that can't you enjoy your work. The week is supposed to suck and the weekends are the only designated play times. Finding joy and pleasure in the little things and our jobs should never be cast off as fake or annoying or rare. We spend the majority of our lives working, why wouldn't you do everything in your power to make it as enjoyable as possible. It's way more simple than you think.
Our minds are powerful tools that can literally change the way we perceive things. I am aware that certain circumstances aren't ideal, however, that shouldn't determine the rest of our enjoyments. We can't control the wind, but we can steer the sails.
5. Don't forget to say I love you
Although skydiving accidents are rare, the thought did occur to me that I might end up being a splattered mess on the concrete. I made sure to tell my family what I was doing before I went, and of course, that I love them. However, It shouldn't take these big life events for us to share the love we all have for each other.
Saying I love you is a sure way to make someone feel loved, backing that statement with action is an even more sure way. Go out of your way to be a loving person, this I can guarantee will always be worth it.