When I was 17 years of age, I wrote down on a piece of paper a list of things I wanted to accomplish by age 25. You know, stuff like get married, have children, become a millionaire, skydive, climb Mt Rainier, etc. Life changing stuff. Well by 25, I had only accomplished one thing. I got married. However, I also was divorced by age 25 too…so whatevs.
Shortly after turning 25, my entire world changed.
I worked for the airlines as a ground service training coordinator. It was my dream job. I loved leading a team of trainers, pushing back and marshaling in planes, helping passengers and being on a team. It was great! Plus I worked with my friends. We worked hard together, partied hard together, traveled the world together and learned how to grow up together. It was very much like what I imagine a sorority would feel like, except instead of school work, we loaded your luggage and sent you away safely to your destination.
During this time, I was in love with this girl that I worked with. She loved me too. Because of our own reasons, we decided to keep our love affair a secret. Which was exciting.
On the fateful afternoon of January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines flight 261 had a major malfunction coming back from Mexico to Seattle, WA. And although the pilots did everything they could to control the situation, ultimately they lost the fight and all 88 passengers/crew lost their lives. Including friends, co-workers and my lover.
It took me years to recover. And I, until recently, never thought about my list of goals. My goal was to survive life. That was big enough.
And then almost two years ago, days before my 39th birthday, I had a hysterectomy. I am, btw, thankful to not bleed every month and I believe women should have the option of removing such parts if they are not using them…but thats for another blog. Anyways, the recovery began a journey that I had no idea was about to unfold.
After the surgery, I knew I needed to start from square one in the health department. Although I was down 20 lbs from my heaviest ever, I was still very over weight and unhealthy. My cholesterol/triglycerides had to be managed by pills. And my self image was terrible.
I began with chair yoga. Which introduced me to one of the most wonderfully positive and spiritual beings on this planet, Janet Crawley. Just being in her presence is a blessing. And I had the pleasure of spending a full year learning from her. It may have started with chair yoga but it opened up my world to possibilities.
Please note, I have many, many people in my life whom have helped me open my eyes and heart through my life. I am very blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing souls!! However, I single out Janet because she lives her life out loud in such a way that makes sense to me and that I want to emulate. She’s kind of like my guru.
She taught me many things, including listening to my inner self. And in doing so, I made the decision to check something, anything off my list of goals from back when I was 17.
I chose skydiving.
This was not an easy choice. Honestly, I didn’t know if I could mentally and/or emotionally prepare to jump out of a perfectly good plane. Especially since my lover had died in one. However this is what I picked.
So I did some research. And it turns out to tandem skydive you have to be under 220 lbs. Well I was not that. I had some work to do.
So for the last two years I have worked hard at physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually preparing to jump out of a plane.
The morning of the jump, I stepped on the scale and discovered I weighed 209 lbs. Holy Shit!! Not only was I under my goal but I had lost a total of 85 lbs! (Which a friend pointed out is equivalent to 10.625 gallons of fat…what a visual!)
The skies showed hope, although the night before the weatherman called for 80% rain. I drove an hour north to the airport with two dear friends and met up with my mom and aunt. I was nervous and excited. My palms were sweaty. But I knew I was doing this as I understood I was the only one who could get in my way at this point.
I took the little 30 min class with my fellow jumpers, which taught me the rules. The first being to smile and have fun.
Our class was split up into two flights. Mine was the second flight, which meant I had 30 more minutes of anticipation. I hung out with my support team. However I paced…a lot. Constantly checking my pulse, I practiced breathing deeply and observed my mind.
“This is happening. You did this. You deserve this. Holy shit that is high. It’s great. It’s gonna be great. Breathe Mel. Ground yourself. What do you see? Clouds. There’s the plane. Oh shit, there’s a jumper. Oh shit, two more. Holy shit this is real. Calm down. You want this. Conquer your fear. Mel, you got this. Ground yourself. Be in the moment. What do you smell? Fuel. Ahh it smells like the airport. Oh god I’ve missed that. What do you hear? The plane. People talking and laughing. Am I smiling? Yes. Are you proud? Yes. Good you should be. You have worked hard. Oh look they are landing. Oh my god that is so awesome. You’re next. Wait. Shit. Breathe. Ground yourself. What do you feel? My hands are sweaty. My heartbeat. My jump suit. Fuck ya, I am in my jump suit! I am doing this!”
And then it was go time…
Enjoy the video!
Happy Adventure Friday My Friends! Love and hugs, Adventure Mel
Ps if the video doesn’t work, simply go to YouTube and type in: Melissa Wilson Tandem Skydive