Skydive is scary and dangerous, right? Then why do people feel like they should jump out of a perfectly good airplane, trusting their fate to a magical backpack made of fabric and sting? Why are people drawn to skydiving?
Skydiving is not dangerous, but if you have not done it before, the idea can be pretty scary. It is common to hear that driving to the dropzone is the most dangerous part of your skydiving day, and this is true – but that doesn’t stop your brain from being very sure that what you are about to do is some kind of insanity. People are much better suited to being on the ground than they are hooning about in the sky. Yet you definitely should skydive, and here is why people continue to do the extreme sport…
If skydiving is scary then why do people like it? It is because doing it is a challenge, and humans earn mental and spiritual rewards by engaging in adventures that test their resolve. Overcoming physical and emotional barriers, and reaching outside of our comfort zones feels good – like you are really using your time well.
Also, it is because of the way that all the fear and anxiety you have inside vanishes the instant you are out through the door of the plane. It is akin to magic therapy, like leaving the old version of yourself that was worried about this back in the plane – and becoming the new you that does things like skydiving.
Leaping out of an airplane means using your higher reasoning to override the natural doubts your body and brain want to have. It is using technology, training, and proper process to obey that little voice in your head that keeps saying jump, jump, jump!
Exciting activities like extreme sports release all sorts of chemicals inside you that are beneficial. An adrenaline rush causes your body to be more alert and function better. This is part of our ‘fight or flight’ response – that was developed for when we had to run away from angry wooly mammoths.
As time goes by we understand more and more that the chemicals released by challenging situations can have residual, lasting benefits. Dopamine, Serotonin, and Endorphins are ‘happy chemicals’ and can have a positive impact on things like your digestion, sleep, memory, and motor control. Also, doing stuff to access these chemicals purposefully feels great – and this effect should rightly be considered one of the awesome after-effects of skydiving.
The nature of what people find ‘cool’ is entirely subjective, but it would be hard to deny that skydiving is pretty high on the general coolness list. People like to pretend that they are not concerned about what others think, but we all search for the approval of our peers (and even total strangers) to some extent. Looking cool about the things you do for fun is an enjoyable bonus on top of the other rewards you get from going skydiving – and there is nothing wrong with that at all.
So does skydiving really change your life? For sure it can. It could probably be considered similar to the ‘overflight syndrome’ experienced by astronauts – as they look down at the earth and feel a sense of overwhelming gratitude about how awesome the world is. People skydive for lots of reasons, each of which makes it worthwhile just by itself. If you add all the reasons together, skydiving is pretty much essential.
On Labor Day my daughter took our first jump. She got me it for my 62nd birthday to check off my bucket list. It was the most intense adrenaline rush I have ever experienced. James and Amber (my daughters tandem partner) were very professional and made our jumps fantastic. We will be back again and hope to bring a group with us. Tremendous experience.