I Fell From the Sky

I’ve been trying to figure out what to entitle this next one, because it’s BIG, I mean, really, it’s HUGE. Vegas is grandiose, this much everyone has figured out by now. But what some of us miss, are the details around the casinos. Every casino is a city, with lights, games, shows, people, billboards, signs, shops, malls… your eyes literally don’t know where to look.

It’s so busy, all the time, that your eyes don’t get a minute of resting. What if… (not hypothetically) you decide to launch yourself out of a plane at 15,000 feet? Well you don’t decide it by yourself, your husband talks you into it slowly but surely. Mike’s strategy was very… subtle. While researching on Vegas he had this very normal idea of signing up for SkyDiving. Being into extreme sports this sounded to me like the right internet search for him, until he decided that my name would look good on the sign-up email of SkyDive Las Vegas! “Hello Marita, Are you ready to SkyDive?” My first thought? ARE YOU KIDDING… but he was actually very persuasive: “Can you imagine how you’d feel once you reach “earth?”” Although scary, the sound of that sounded amusing and tempting to someone who would not jump three stairs at the same time.

So yes, SkyDiving it was! Crazy idea… so crazy that you can barely breathe when thinking about it. Saturday Oct. 4th we went skydiving in Vegas. It was not enough for our senses to be knocked out by the pulse of life on the ground… we needed to see it from above. Mike has it all documented: fact: even when driving there, I was not going to jump.

The getting to the plane was “easy enough”. The idea was so surreal that it didn’t even feel like it would materialize. And so step following another with lots of hesitations and giggles of “there is no way I’m doing this, i’m just trying here”, we found ourselves all geared up, suited up and ready for take off. The excitement and personal challenge were too great to panic. It was more anxiety and curiosity of seeing how far I would be pushing myself, how high was my tolerance.

Call it adrenaline junky, recreational out-of-your-mind craziness… but that fear and feeling of “I can do it” can take you places. For me, they took me on that plane, hooked up to my Tandem Instructor (TI), who was talking me into it the whole time. Let’s bed clear, I am no extreme sport cheerleader. I do not bungy jump or deliberately through myself off place for the rush of it. Sitting on the plane, by the door, I was the third to parachute myself out of the plane, the sliding door was by my feet. They would open it every now and then and you can only imagine the feeling you get. Such an indescribable rush. I could feel my pupils dilating, my heart pounding and my only thought: I can’t do this.

I’ve repeated it so many times that my feet were glued to the plane’s floor. It was the TI who kept on motivating and pep talking me through it. Not that I was focusing much with him, but the constant “you can do it” felt like I had no choice. It was too late to back out and suddenly I found myself sliding towards the door with him. My thoughts were so fast, I was hyperventilating: I was nowhere ready to “drop” off. But it took me a fraction of a second to motivate myself: “you can do it, jump, it’s difficult now, but one hell of an experience! Mike’s face once I land would be priceless, I seriously need to see that!”

This reads like an eternity but really it was all about 5 seconds, between opening the door, seeing the two guys in front of me jump and then MOI! The standing by the door at 15,000 feet was paralyzing, the view! The 2 seconds where you sit by the door, feet touching air and the horizon at the same level of your eyes… so high, so clear, so breathtaking. Then, comes the incredible gravity that pulls you out of the plane, dragging you into thin air starting with a 360 flip and then all the way down. The free fall was suffocating… my mind was rushing as fast as our fall… no thoughts, just my voice telling me to breathe. Eyes closed and heart, yes still beating, it took me 3 seconds to open my eyes and, there it was. Land, what looked like tiny little houses, streets and water, all miniature underneath me: I did it.

The view was spectacular. I was falling from the sky with no limits or constraints, at a WOW speed, then a bit slower with the balancing parachute and then literally parading in the sky, enjoying the view, taking it all in. It was like being seated in an office with such a clear and clean window… A beautiful office in a breathtaking penthouse with the world underneath my feet. Panting from left to right and back again I literally couldn’t believe that I made it.

As soon as I touched the ground, there it was, between laughing, screaming excitement and surreality to what my senses and eyes just saw. Not only it felt like my lungs could hold in more air, but my view was far wider. “I jumped off a plane” that is so huge! The idea behind it is so great that confining it to letters would not do it justice. It’s true, anything is possible, just like for this jump, with a little motivation and the right support. This experience is liberating… all the boundaries that were crippling my mind, all the what ifs, doubts, fears and hesitations seem all to be relative, and more so? Inexistent, as they start fading away at the memory of my free fall.

Do you recall that dream, the one where you’re free falling into an abyss and you suddenly wake up out of breath? That doesn’t wake me up anymore… I have free fallen, I flew, and I landed. And it was incredible! Once you touch the ground and you look up, you’re like, I seriously did it, I jumped out of a plane! I was on top of the world! It’s liberating, beyond anything I can write. I have my own crazy story to share now, and that is worth every hesitation I ever had!

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