I gulped, opened my eyes, and built up the courage to take one last look out the window. The sun kissed the horizon and the clouds floated like dandelions in the sky. The earth beneath me looked like the board game of candy-land. Each stretch of land was so beautifully colorful and different in its own unique way. The light on the side of the plane turned from red to green and with an intense gust of wind the side door opened.
My heart started beating faster then I had ever felt, and my stomach dropped all the way back down to planet earth. "No turning back now!" My sister yelled at me with the biggest grin I had ever seen. My instructor squeezed my shoulders and shouted, "We're up, let's do this thing!"
A week before I decided to do the craziest thing of my life, I was in complete denial of ever jumping out of an airplane. "No way, I would pass out in the air!" I said to my sister's fiancé as he tried to convince me. He had been skydiving for longer then I could walk, (hence the 11 year age gap) and was a perfect textbook definition of pure adrenaline junky.
"I will come for moral support, that is it." Tyler looked at me one last time and with a philosophical smirk, he quoted, "We do not fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown. Look at it as a start of a new chapter in your life- sometimes you just have to tackle the future head on." Dang it, I thought to myself. He had a point- and it was a really good one. Before I knew it, I was signed up to take that terrifying jump.
The unknown is such an exciting and mysterious thing to me. Growing up, I had to deal with it a little more than the average person. Due to having a father in the military, every two or three years my sisters and I had to move and start all over again without knowing what to expect whatsoever. The most important thing that I learned from being thrown into so many unknown situations is that we should not fear it.
I know, it is easier said than done, but making yourself uncomfortable is honestly the best way to grow as an individual. It is in situations where you feel the most vulnerable, that you learn how to gain confidence and (as my Dad puts it) "adapt and overcome."
The clouds that I fell through made me feel invincible. I screamed with delight and in the midst of everything I tried to convince myself that I was not actually in a dream. I had never felt so alive and aware of every little thing in my whole life. When my parachute opened I honestly started to tear up. Not because I was so happy to be alive, but because it was hands down the most surreal moment of my life.
As the wind blew through my hair I truly felt how much of an out of body experience I was in and let me tell you, it was insane. I put my arms out like wings and yelled, "I finally know what it feels like to be a bird!"
If we stick to what feels comfortable our whole lives, we will never truly know who we really are. We find out what we are made of when we push ourselves past our comfort zone. What I learned from taking that closest-to-death that I ever felt jump is that when you stay in your comfort zone, it is so easy to get bored with life.
Sometimes, we just have to do things that we think we can not do to prove to ourselves- and no one else- just how strong we really are and how crazy this one life we were born into can be.
If someone had the power to lay out my future and tell me everything that was going to happen in my life, I would not want to meet that person. Not knowing what is going to happen in life is the greatest motivator out there. The unknown is a sea of endless possibilities. It is just up to us to decide whether we are willing to take that risk or stay in our boring comfort zone. I will always be thankful to Tyler for giving me a big push in the right direction and inspiring me to take that risk. My hope is that this article can do the same for you.