Gut check — A time to test your will power, courage, fortitude, etc.  Rarely does it involve any physical strength or skill, instead being an almost entirely mental challenge.

 

Skydiving in Colorado?  Talk about a complete 180 turn from my NYC life 2 years ago.

Like to think it was all my idea, but gotta give credit to Annmarie who peer-pressured me & John into buying into a Living Social (Groupon) deal a couple of months earlier.  Annmarie sent the link, John purchased – and 2 days later I manned up & then we were 3.

After another solid week of winter weather, met up with my 2 Denver-based friends under sunny skies & temps in the 50’s.

Out of the Blue Skydiving is located in Penrose, approx 45 minutes west of Colorado Springs.  After watching a 15-minute training video, we signed waivers, weighed in, suited up and met our tandem partners.  Took a few group photos, then loaded onto a truck for the short trip to our plane.  Unfortunately, a solo parachutist (her 3rd time) dropped from the sky & landed hard, damaging 2 vertebrae in her lower spine.  We waited for an ambulance & sheriff to attend to the accident (yeah, immediately before we were to jump).  Back on the truck, we roll toward the plane.  My video guy Rusty films another outtake & off we go.

Ok now my stomach is churning – tinged with both excitement & fear.  JD (my tandem partner) continues to engage me in conversation.  I try but my eyes are fixed, staring out the window.  Mind is racing – gonna take a mammoth-sized gut check.  JD shows his wrist altimeter – 2,000 feet more climb left.  More talk.  JD assures me I’m now attached to him by 4 links.  Snug, tight – this is gonna happen soon.

Door opens & life pace speeds 10x.  Sound of air rushes in.  Loud.  4 parachutists are sucked out of the opening.  Never saw these guys jump – folks are exiting both frontwards and backwards.  I can’t think.  Life is happening to me.  Move up, move up.  I scoot forward on the bench.  Annmarie is at the door with her partner Andrew.  Like a pro she falls forward and plunges out of the plane.  This girl has no fear – true superstar.  Move up, move up.  I grab for the bar and awkwardly push my feet out the plane.

Wait.  Wait.  What am I doing?  The wind is crazy loud.  Hold on, I need to think.  The human body has a strong, instinctual survival mode. That said, it’s the most empowering feeling to turn off your mind & best that fear.

Cross your arms, head back and thrust forward with your hips – thrust outward into open space.

So what were you thinking?  Were you scared?

Life is happening to you, it’s all so fast.  HUGE adrenalin rush, free falling.  Amazing, faith-building, leap of courage – must be how eagles feel.  Soaring with air currents.  Flash of mountain scapes beside me, no they’re below me.  Excitement, joy – but absolutely zero fear.  I’m flying, the wind pushing around me.

Parachute opens, we abruptly shoot upward – and it (the adrenalin fix) ends.  Everything is now crazy quiet.  We’re floating.  I’m aware of where I am, how high I am.  My mind turns back on.

JD asks about my ride & if I want to spin – experiencing a full 360 Colorado panorama.  Pikes Peak.  How crazy is that?

Feet up, soon we’re landing.  Quick turn into the air field.  Down, down.  Dust flies.  Textbook landing.

Heart’s still racing.  I watch John land across the field & spot Annmarie right of me.  YES!  AMAAAAZING!

Group hug-it-out moment, walk back to the office & discard gear.  Pics, signed certificates & last minute goodbyes to our tandem guides.  One of the most exhilarating, life changing moments in my life.  I will not forget this day or the folks I shared this day.

Change takes courage.  Say no mas to your day-to-day drag.  Wish I had had the courage to live simply sooner.  We get so hung up on what we’re supposedly to have, supposedly to do – that we miss opportunities to LIVE.

Lunch at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.  5-star ending to a 5-star day.  LOVE LOVE LOVE my Colorado life!

 

WATCH my YouTube Video ‘Skydiving in Colorado!’

 

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