Monday, October 10, 2011

Sittin' On Ice

My first solo skydive was a success!

Am a little dinged up from my amateurish landing (will be sitting on an ice pack for a few days) but I walked away laughing that the only way I could have been farther away from the landing area would have been to have landed in another zip code.

But, if you can walk away from a parachute landing…and laugh…that’s a good thing.

As I’ve noted before, I’m learning all kinds of life lessons as I jump into this new “hobby.” One of my great instructors, Randy Hamberlin, a former paratrooper and Vietnam Veteran, offered the best lesson yesterday. (Randy asks all kinds of questions that I don’t have a clue how to answer and never once has he made me feel like a dope.)

Hamberlin asked, “What do you think we’re teaching you?”

I figured it was a trick question and “skydiving” was not the answer, so I said what I thought and, for once, got it right… “how to be safe doing this.”

Hamberlin’s expression never changed. He said, “Yep. We’ll teach you a little bit about how to skydive. But, what we’re more interested in you knowing is how to get up and down safely.”

Is there an activity in life…your work, for instance…that you think you’re doing for one reason but, in fact, you’re doing for another? You may think you’re there to make a living, but you’re really there for the sense of security? If so, where’s the feeling of security coming from? If you have a relationship or family, what’s the primary purpose in your life?

Not many people want to ask those types of questions, especially after they may have invested decades in a life based on what other people expected of them. The key is to get more of what your real motivation is and less of the other silliness.

Last weekend Hamlin mentioned a Duke University professor who studied extreme sports participants and why they got involved. (My definition of an extreme sport is something that can get you killed. Skateboarding is not an extreme sport.) The professor said, “Some people live life holding onto ropes and they get to a point at which they have to let go.”

Not everyone needs to let go. But, if you’ve got that dangling feeling it might be time to look for another rope.

Gotta go, time to change the ice pack.

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