Why I Jumped Out of A Perfectly Good Airplane

My 50th birthday this year wound up being a bit of a dud. I was sick (again) for about two weeks. My birthday passed by during that time in a fog of a three-digit fever and on the other side of it, I was 50 years old and nothing to show for the celebration of it except a depleted supply of fever suppressors and crumpled thermometer covers.

I pouted about it for a while (yeah, I know – first world problems), contemplating all the advice I received from others. I could turn my birthday into a birthday week, a birthday month, or even a birthday year. But none of those sounded appealing to me. I never really was a girl to celebrate a birthday beyond that one special day. I still wanted to do something special, but my energy level was still a bit low and I just didn’t have the mental capacity to plan something like a party or a weekend getaway.

I decided to jump out of an airplane.

Now, to backtrack just a little bit on this, I had wanted to jump out of an airplane on my birthday. The execution looked a little different, though. I wanted to do it with friends and make a day of it. When I got sick, that all fell to the wayside.

As I started feeling better, I realized that I could still do it. But I still ran into the same problem. I just didn’t have the mental strength to coordinate that big day of it. So I did it quietly. My original plan was to go it alone, but I told my son and his girlfriend. They wanted to come out to watch and support me, so it turned into a beautiful and peaceful day with the ones closest to me. That wound up being a perfect celebration of turning half a century old.

The exhilaration of it makes me want to do it again. I want to make it a regular thing, but at the same time, I’m wondering if I should just let it be and let the one experience be what it is – a celebration of my 50th birthday and a continuation of my bucket list, inspired by the desire to pick up where Bryan left off, living life to the fullest.

I might contemplate jumping again, but I still have my unique experience of jumping out of an airplane, experiencing the ear-piercing, adrenaline-filled rush of wind and a roaring turbine engine. I still have my unique experience of feeling the quietness and peacefulness once the chute opened, hearing only the sound of the parachute fabric fluttering in the wind and being able to see for miles without the confines of an aluminum aircraft. I think Bryan would approve. 💜

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