Not that I’m recommending people put themselves in situations like this on purpose, but you never feel so alive as when you’ve just cheated death.
The most effervescently alive I’ve ever felt is lying on a strange drop zone in the middle of the night after a jump, starry sky above me, parachute strewn in the grass behind me. It wasn’t even a hairy jump, that one. It was just a beautiful night and the plane ride had been a wild one.
Leaping out of the plane on a dark, cool night from the din and disquiet of a military aircraft into the utter dark silence of a drop zone is such a transition that it should be jarring – but it’s not. It’s like a rebirth.
As calm as it is, as still, the ground is still approaching. You have to get ready. Feet in the right place, let your rucksack go. Crash. Anything broken? Stars above, ground below. That night it felt like I was fizzing up into the universe, becoming a living Van Gogh.
I’ve lived my whole life doing things people told me I could not possibly do.
“What, him? Oh no, not Mike, he’s too geeky to date that woman.”
“Oh, not Mike, he’s too weak to join the Army. He’ll never make it.*”
“That guy, become a paratrooper? Yeah, right.”
And that’s only the first 20 years. You get the point.
I’ve always loved the Alanis Morrisette lyric, “I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone.”
Damn good advice.
If you aren’t biting off more than you can chew of life, why are you still living? What’s the damn point?
*My own father, by the way.