Last August a friend and I flew to the Pacific Northwest to drive the coast from Seattle to the California Redwoods. The whole trip was amazing with one adventure after another. I’ve been to the area before and fell it love with its natural beauty… and the Pacific Ocean. It felt like home every time I was there.
My friend, Dianna, had been asking for years to skydive with her and my response was always the same – a hard NO! The thought of jumping out of a plane makes my stomach drop and anxiety skyrocket. A few weeks before our trip we were having dinner and a friend’s daughter mentioned how she had gone skydiving for the first time and loved it. To this day I don’t know what got into me but I turned to Dianna and said “Okay, I’ll do it. But you better plan it fast or I’ll change my mind.” She didn’t skip a beat and planned a skydiving adventure in Snohomish, WA at the start of our trip.
I honestly couldn’t think about it or I might change my mind.
When we arrived at the location, we had to complete a waiver on their computers. Seriously, there were so many clearly spelled out risks that I couldn’t even look at them. I started just checking them off, again trying not to think about the fact that I would soon be jumping out of a plane. While I was completing my form, Dianna was busy excitedly talking to the other jumpers and decided for us to extend our free fall from 30 seconds to 60. Yikes! Everyone else had agreed and I didn’t want to be the only one getting dropped off at a lower altitude so, still not allowing myself to think too much about what I was about to do, I said okay too.
There were eight pairs of tandem jumpers on the flight. After we were harnessed up, met our tandem instructor, and given some of the basics, we all headed to the runway to climb into a small plane. I told my instructor that I had to be the first one off the plane because I didn’t think I’d be able to do it after watching others go first. While Dianna was giddy with excitement, I was in the “zone.” I was just going to do it, not overthink it.
Soon we were almost to 13,500 feet above the ground and getting ready to go.
The door of the plane rolled up and open. My tandem instructor and I scooted to the opening and as instructed, I crossed my arms, put my feet against the outside of the plane and rested my head back on his chest. Then, we just rolled out of the plane. Yup, just rolled out of a plane high above the earth, free falling for 60 seconds at 120 miles per hour. Our parachute opened and we floated back to safety with a smooth landing. But not before I experienced the most beautiful scenery of Puget Sound, the Seattle skyline, Mt. St. Helen and so much more.
My new life metaphor – just roll off that plane.
I was exhilarated when I landed – not just because I was safe but because I had faced my fears. I did it! And now this has become a metaphor for my life. When fear comes rearing its very convincing head, I acknowledge her and thank her for trying to keep me safe from the unknown AND THEN …just roll off the plane.
Throughout that trip I kept talking about moving to the area. Dianna asked “Well, what’s holding you back from just doing it now?” Good question. Everyone in my life knew that I’ve always wanted to live near the ocean and this place felt like home. I’d been seriously considering it for the past few years after my divorce but timing just never seemed quite right. On one of our last nights in Oregon, Dianna said “You know I love you and don’t want you to move away, but I fully support this.”
In that moment I realized that in order to live the life I was meant to live, I needed to just roll off the plane again. I responded “You know what? I’m going to do it!” And I did. Within two months I was driving a U-Haul from Minneapolis to my new home in the coastal city of Gold Beach, Oregon.
Magic happens when you live authentically.
As I sit here writing now while watching the ocean waves, I’m filled with gratitude for everything in my life. I’m living a fully authentic life, one that is aligned with my purpose of helping others do the same. I trusted my intuition, that deep knowing, about my calling to be near the ocean during this exciting new phase of my life and, as if by magic, the stars aligned. And while I haven’t decided whether to roll off an actual plane again, I will continue to roll off my metaphorical plane so that I can live the life I’m meant to live – you know – one of purpose, joy, peace and courage.