A couple of days ago I jumped out of a plane. It had never been a dream of mine, but I was excited to do it with friends when the opportunity was given. I wasn’t particularly nervous until we were already on the plane looking down on the beautiful landscape of the Algarve in Portugal. It probably helped that my instructor was incredibly chatty, which took my mind off of things like worrying about if the parachute opens. We were the last ones to jump. I saw all my friends go ahead, hanging on the side of the plane for about 30 seconds before jumping with a look of determination and horror on their faces.
When you skydive as an amateur you are strapped to somebody else with no control over what’s happening to you: there has to be complete trust and surrender. Once you jump (well actually, it isn’t you who jumps, you are just hanging on to the person who does the jumping) the only way to enjoy the process is by completely letting go. You get to experience 60-90 seconds of weightlessness as you float (fall rather), which is definitely one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had.
I loved all of that, it was so completely free. But then the parachute opened and I was not in charge of how and where we would be moving, I felt so sick. The instructor thought that as I wasn’t afraid of heights and enjoyed the thrill of the jump, he could try a few flips in the air. It took me a lot of regulating and calming myself down not to panic and not to throw up. We landed safely, but my body was shaking, full of adrenaline and with the relief of having survived.
I thought about how I wasn’t very nervous before jumping. Was it because I am numb or because I often put myself through difficult situations and uncertainty, I am used to it, even comfortable with it? Many people who enjoy extreme sports find it difficult to relax and just be: there is a constant need to move and do and challenge themselves. Some people (especially men) need to have a goal to work towards, they need to feel productive, doing nothing or “drifting” can be scarier than jumping out of a plane at 10 000 ft. Yes, most people feel unsafe when facing uncertainty or when they need to make decisions, but some actually find the thought of a comfortable, predictable life in the suburbs terrifying.
We are all different in our struggles.
In our individualistic society the idea of self-actualisation and living your best life come on top among values. I believe that staying at home when our family needs us instead of going off to another adventure may not look as glamorous or instagramable, but requires real courage. Not fulfilling dreams to support your loved ones can be the most heroic act one can do.
By inviting you to Introspective Exploration, we want to encourage you to find out what works for you, how you want to live your life so you don’t copy anyone else’s.
Introspective exploration can help you build a map using your unique past experiences of all the challenges that may come up on the way to a fulfilling life. We, at Centrd Life are here to guide you on this path and not to give you the one and only true way of living your life.