“There is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane.” Comforting, huh? This is the sign that stands outside of Skydive San Marcos and the first thing I saw when we turned left and headed down the road to what could only be the scariest adventure of my life (or so I thought).
What led me here, you ask? Well, a few months back, our partners at ATKG asked us for 3-5 things that are on our bucket list, but they never told us why they wanted to know. Not too long after, they revealed their secret. They were giving us the opportunity to cross off an item from our bucket list! When they announced this, everyone was thrilled, of course, but I’m pretty sure we all frantically tried to think of what we’d previously put on those lists!
As I went through my bucket list “rolodex,” I panicked momentarily. Surely, they wouldn’t really have me go skydiving, would they? Yep. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only crazy, thrill-seeking ATKG-er. Four of us were granted our wish to jump out of a plane and soar through the sky. We quickly decided on a date and time and made our reservations. Truthfully, we were in this together and that may have been the only thing keeping us from freaking out.
Upon arrival, we checked in at the front desk and were handed the dreaded paperwork. I say dreaded because it really is two pages, front and back, where you initial that you understand the risks of injury and even death of skydiving. Let’s just say there was a lot of nervous laughter and shaky handwriting. We then watched a short film from the founder of tandem skydiving. I distinctly remember one line from that video: “If you feel uncomfortable about skydiving and about the risks involved, please consult your attorney.” The four of us thought, “Consult an attorney? We’re jumping in approximately 30 minutes! There’s no time for consulting an attorney.” What had we gotten ourselves into?
Shortly afterward, we met our tandem partners and got into our very stylish jumpsuits. We went through the motions of the actual jump and talked about some important tips, from how to keep your head back when jumping to the way your body should be curved while in freefall position. After we were suited up (and as anxious as ever) we headed out to board the plane. Upon boarding, we sat in a row with our tandem partners behind us and the plane took off. I can’t even explain what I was feeling, but I can tell you at this moment, my fears and anxiety vanished. All of a sudden I was taking in the beautiful scenery and the experience. Anxiety had been replaced with excitement. When we were at our jumping height, the door opened, and one by one, I watched my fellow ATKG-ers fall into the sky. I couldn’t believe we were doing this. When it was my turn, my tandem partner guided me to the door, and we got in jumping position. Before I could even think about what I was about to do, we were out of the plane, and I was falling, upside down, through the air. The freefall was AMAZING. It was such a rush! Once the parachute was pulled and we floated up and then back down toward earth, I couldn’t help but be amazed at everything I was seeing. The landscape, the horizon, the buildings – beautiful and peaceful. Quiet. My tandem partner even left me steer the parachute! It was only a few short minutes until we prepared to land, and I was back on the ground.
I still cannot believe I jumped out of an airplane. But I am so glad I did. I am grateful for the opportunity to have crossed something off of my bucket list. My advice to anyone who thinks they want to skydiving: DO IT! Don’t let your fears hold you back from this incredible experience.
The ATKG Bucket List program was designed to enhance the experience of being an ATKGer. Intended to help realize some of our ATKGer’s wildest, most “out there,” and “if only” dreams, the firm dedicates resources to helping our team fulfill these lifelong goals. At random times throughout the year, the partners will draw a card from the bucket identifying an ATKGer and his or her bucket list item!