Ahh, the landing…
So I mentioned in a blog post a few weeks back that “landing” was a different blog entry altogether…
A few years back I had the incredible opportunity to go skydiving with a friend. Making the decision to jump out of a plane with a silk canvas strapped to your back is, in my opinion, quite courageous. I had already settled myself to the thought of hurtling my body through the air and was quite proud of the fact that I was to boldly fly where few have flown before.
What I didn’t know is that this friend who organized our skydiving venture also chose the program where we would learn how to jump out of the plane BY OURSELVES. No tandem, no teacher, no tie to someone who knows what the heck they’re doing. I stood there, breathless and shaking slightly in the knees, dumbfounded that I had so foolishly put my faith and trust in someone to organize this death-defying adventure.
But I wasn’t ready to back down. So I boldly (or obtusely) forged ahead with our skydiving plans. We arrived at 730AM to learn how to wear and release a parachute, how to handle the straps and flaps that would save my body from hurtling towards the earth, as well as how to jump out of the plane. But for some reason, we spent so much time worrying about all the little things that could go wrong and so little about how to actually land safely back down on the ground. I think the teacher simply thought it wasn’t that important or that we would intuitively know how to guide ourselves back to Mother Earth. And so we went a full 15 hours learning every little detail about skydiving except how to land.
So I continued to be foolish and jumped out of the plane with the little knowledge I had to protect my life. To say the least, skydiving is exhilarating. I would highly recommend it… if you go tandem or know exactly what you’re doing. The minute I began my slow descent to the ground, I realized quite nervously that I had no idea how to really land safely. So I faked it. I steered left, I steered right and captured a haphazard feeling of flight. Then, I had to somehow get on the ground without breaking my legs or any other bone in my body. So I steered in panic and nearly entangled myself in the parachute chords of a fellow skydiver. Luckily we missed each other by a few meters and I continued down to the ground until I finally bumped my way along the dirt field that was reserved solely for us silly skydivers.
I often myself ask how much more I could have experienced during my flight if I had really known how to steer and land properly. Did I not ask enough questions? Was I so blinded by my nervousness and excitement that I failed to search for the very details I needed in order to safely finish my skydiving experience? How much better off are we when we take the time to really understand our situation before we just jump right in (or in my case, jump right out)? How rough or smooth will our landing be when we are well prepared and have sought out the knowledge we need in order to land properly?
Sometimes starting something can be really easy. It’s the landing that we should not forget during our preparation.