Back in December, me Aussie mate and I decided it would be an excellent idea to throw ourselves out of a plane in order to chase that feeling of absolute terror that one can only experience from tricking the brain into thinking its only moments away from a brutal and messy death. The reason I’m blogging about this almost five months after doing it, is because in a couple of weeks I will be doing it again, only this time two and a half thousand feet higher and over some rather spiky-looking mountains in the Southern Alps in New Zealand.
Before I came out to Australia, I had a bucket list of things I wanted to do. It was a pretty small list- scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, skydive and bungee jump. Now I’ve already ticked two of these off the list, and the last one I will achieve when I pluck up the courage to voluntarily jump 130m off a platform and into a void greater than the one left when I sold my PS4. <Insert Heartbreak Emoji Here>
The thought of bungee jumping terrifies me. Every time I think about it, I feel a little tingle in my feet and a lurch in my stomach. And this is exactly why I’m doing it. Fear in an awesome thing, because fear produces adrenaline. It isn’t the kind of adrenaline that you get from handing in an assignment with thirty seconds to spare and wondering whether or not you spelled your name right, nor is it the kind of fear you get when you can’t find your phone- this is something much more pure and primal.
Skydiving doesn’t fill me with this fear anymore and I’ll tell you why. There was a video going around with Will Smith talking about Skydiving, if you haven’t seen it already then check it out because it completely sums it up, but I’ll do my best to put it in my own words with my own experience.
The only thing that is frightening about skydiving or any adventure activity for that matter is the build-up. Most of us are already aware that the mind can be a dark and scary place at the best of times, so mentally preparing yourself for something that you instinctively should be trying to avoid is a very, very tough thing. Fear isn’t alone though. Because fear has brought his buddies along for the ride…doubt, panic, anxiety, dread are all ganging up on you and telling you it’s a bad idea.
All of these emotions are just illusions. Say that again aloud. All of these emotions are just illusions. They are not real, you cannot touch them, they are not tangible and they cannot hurt you. These negative emotions are at their peak the second you fall out of that plane. If you watch the video of me skydiving, you can see it in my face. The first second is pure terror (or some sort of gurn…I’ll let you decide which).
Then everything is washed away. All of the horror, all of the bad thoughts that cloud your mind and try to sway you from doing something incredible no longer exist.
What replaced them were feelings of ecstasy, joy, freedom and genuine awe. You see, once you break free from these negative thoughts, you are thrust into enjoyment. You’re looking at the world from above and you feel completely free.
You are flying.
These bad thoughts served a purpose at one point in our evolution, to keep us alive. But now, we have no predators hunting us in the night, we have no reason to feel fear and dread as intensely as we do. The only thing you have to do is to do it. You don’t have to ignore the thoughts, and at the same time you don’t have to embrace them. All you really have to do is do what it is you want to do despite them being there. Because after you do it, you will want to do it again, you will want to continue that feeling and purge yourself of all of the things that are telling you that you shouldn’t or telling you that you can’t or that you’re not brave enough.
This got a lot more preachy than I was intending, but this is the best way I can accurately describe what it’s like to rid yourself of fear and do something that is not only incredibly cool from the outside looking in, but is also liberating from the inside looking out. Own your fear and use it.
So whenever I feel the tingle in my feet when I think about bungee jumping, I smile my cocky half-smile as if to say “bring it on.” I am so excited about this trip that it’s all I can think about. I have 9 days until I get on that plane and I can’t wait. I will try and update whilst I’m in New Zealand, but it’s probably far more likely you’re just going to get smashed with blog posts when I’m back in Australia.
As always, thank you for reading!
Goodbye and freefall through life.