This is the question I’ve been asking myself the last week.
When the email arrived in my inbox with the itinerary and the choice to skydive, I felt sick.
I didn’t want to tell Craig as I knew he’d look at me with that grin, “You’re skydiving.” He skydived last year in New Zealand and has been convincing me to since.
I answered with a not sure when he eventually asked, the sinking feeling diving deeper.
We’re going to far North Queensland in two weeks and we have the choice: hot air balloon ride, Skydiving, or bungy.
Bungy is out as I have done it before and have no need to do it a third time. We experienced our first hot air balloon ride over the Hunter Valley two years ago and have been keen to do it again.
Should I try something new and skydive over the Great Barrier Reef?
I sat on it, hoping someone else would decide for me, in the direction of “Hot air balloon.”
We decided to put it to our Facebook community: Skydive or Hot air balloon over the Great Barrier Reef?
Our Facebook community rock you know. Like seriously!! How could I ever ignore their wisdom?
The majority replied with, “You’ll be over the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll see more if you are in the hot air balloon. The skydive will happen too fast and you won’t take anything in.”
“You know you are absolutely right. I didn’t even think of that!”
I sat up straight and the sickening nerves disappeared. SAVED by Facebook friends.
The hot air balloon would be so much more enjoyable and I want to enjoy my very first Great Barrier Reef experience.
Is it really because I am a chicken?
This is exactly what the dare devil within me tried to say as soon as I made my decision.
Time to rationalize.
I’ve probably done way more dangerous and scarier things. Flying Olympus airlines for one. Hanging off the back of a pick-up in Africa over a deep ravine with two handcuffed prisoners digging their elbows into my back, being charged by a silverback, walking within metres of a croc in the wild, visiting a cheetah in the rehabilitation pen after being warned that she could attack so please stand still!
I woke up this morning to hear of 19 tourists killed in a hot air balloon disaster in Egypt. If I was a chicken I would have cancelled the balloon ride straight away and chose a nice cup of tea and a morning walk on the beach. (Which does sound REALLY lovely)
I don’t think it’s a problem of me being too fearful to do anything that pushes boundaries. I know I would jump out of the plane if I had to and would maybe enjoy the adrenalin rush after it.
But, would I enjoy the experience?
Would skydiving teach me to be braver and push boundaries?
I don’t know. I think I’d be so freaked out the whole time that I wouldn’t and it would be over too quickly. All the other things that I’ve done in my life that have been thrilling and risky have been adventurous and fun and giving me bigger stories than a 60 second free-fall.
My bungy jumping in Bali experience I rarely talk about. I mean it was a thrill and somewhat fun, but more of a meh.
Did it actually enhance my life any?
Not really. It didn’t make me feel any braver. Standing up to introduce myself in front of 500 high school boys who spoke only Thai, on my first day of teaching English at Wat Saket sure did though.
Now that was life-changing.
From then on, whenever it was time step outside my comfort zone, I whispered,
“You can do it, remember when you took a deep breath and sucked it up in front of all those Thai boys. You didn’t die. In fact you felt great after it.”
I really don’t think I need thrills for the sake of the thrills. I’m really after experiences that help me grow and open my eyes to beauty and depth and show me more of what I am capable of.
Throwing myself out of a plane will probably show me how capable I am of screaming and collapsing on the ground when it is all over.
I know that many people choose to skydive to prove to themselves that they can do anything and make them feel less afraid in their on the ground life. For those people, I am sure skydiving could change their life.
But, I don’t need to push my comfort boundaries, as I push them every day.
Because of that pushing I’ve travelled the world, turned up in countries without any money, worked unusual jobs I had no skills for, made friends out of strangers, started my own business, expressed all my inner thoughts in a very public space, and stood up in front of hundreds of adults to show them how they can do the same.
It’s never the thrill seeking stuff that has given me the courage to do that. Never. I know so many people who have skydived, yet are still living lives they don’t want to live because they are too afraid to just do it.
I want the long lasting thrill.
Will skydiving bring me enjoyment then?
No. I hate flying for one. (But I do it because I know I will enjoy what comes at the end of it.)
I’ll be terrified and sick when it comes time to jumping out of the plane, I’ll probably have my eyes closed and scream really loudly and when it is over I’ll collapse in a heap on the ground in sobs of tears and punch Craig for making me do it.
(Oh, which reminds me, I’ve given birth twice – I sure as hell don’t need to prove to myself I am powerful beyond measure. Two natural births with no drugs, showed me that!)
My verdict on whether I should skydive?
I don’t want to skydive. My body speaks clearly to me that it’s just not for me. I don’t need the thrill nor the fun.
My final question to verify?
Will I regret not doing it?
My answer: Hell no.
I’d much rather take in the Great Barrier Reef from the basket of a hot air balloon.
We don’t always have to be pushing our boundaries by scaring the shit out of ourselves. Why are we always striving to make life ultra-thrilling and proving things either to ourselves or others? Can’t we just be happy with the simple moments, the pleasure of float in the sky or a paddle on the ocean?
Why not work more on stretching and growing our life on the ground and make that more thrilling?
I’m sure in the future, the question Should I skydive will come up. I think if there is the choice over that or something else, my choice will be the something else.
And if not, then I will once again ask my body? Should I do this?
And I’ll trust the answer. If it is just because I am trying to prove that I am fearless, I won’t because I don’t need to prove that.
But, if it is because I genuinely want to try it and have fun, then I will.
For now, I want to continue to thrill myself with my business and travel with my two kids (ain’t nothing else races your heart more!)
And amongst all that I want adventure, fun, and long, peaceful moments.
What would you do? Are you more focused on making your life on the ground more thrilling or are you after quick, intense thrills every now and then to prove you are alive and living dangerously?