I have a very strong memory of these words;
"Okay Melanie - it's time for me to take your pilot chute now". And just thinking the words today makes my heart race.
You see, almost 20 years ago I was at a party. A conversation with my client's wife (who became my friend believe it or not) went something like this
Her: I would love to skydive some day.
Me: Me too!
Her: Let's do it together
Me: Yes let's!
A few days later, she called to let me know she had arranged the skydiving session for us that Sunday.
Her: Yes, won't it be fun!
Me: Er yes I guess so
Her: You don't remember that we agreed to do it?
Me: Yes. Some day right?
Her: Oh. I thought you said SUNDAY! I booked it for Sunday.
Me: Oh crap. I mean okay can't wait.
Sunday came sooner than soon. Following what seemed a rather brief introductory explanation of what to do when all hell breaks loose and your parachute doesn't open because you didn't let go when you were told or weren't lined up properly or are in a spin with the lines all tangled up around you (basic advice is pray), we climbed inside a little old Cessna and headed up up up into the blue skies. And up. And up. Okay you get the picture.
True I did wonder if the little old plane would make it. True that I was glad I was already wearing my parachute. But after some time had passed, in that moment, hearing the words
"Okay Melanie - it's time for me to take your pilot chute now"
I WAS SCARED. And excited. But mostly SCARED.
"Okay and now you just need to climb out the door with the wind racing past faster than on a dog's face hanging out the passenger window and grab hold of the strut."
Right. No problem.
"Okay, now look at me. And let go"
Well actually I was feeling like it would be a nice time for a chat, further instructions, anything really that would allow me to hold onto that little old plane just a bit longer and do anything but let go. So I turned to look into the jump guide's eyes in order to convince him to please please please let me back in.
I swear to God he hypnotised me. Right there and then. In seconds. He must have, because the next thing I knew I was hurtling through the sky feeling more alive than ever before.
You want to know what relief feels like? It is what you feel when your real parachute opens and slows you down enough to collect your wits.
Okay, so I didn't really collect my wits. But eventually the ground crew came over my radio to remind me that my work wasn't yet over. I actually needed to reach up to pull down my steering cords in order to do anything useful like bring myself safely to ground. Which I did, once I had stopped cheering and whoo-hooing all over the place.
And when it was time to land? Well that is what regret feels like. I was sorry it was all over so soon. Before I had time to fully experience it.
As you can imagine, I am reminded of this adventure when I feel scared. When I am being asked to step up to the podium and do something I have never done before. And yes, when I realize I am so busy paying attention to stuff that I am missing all the fun parts.
And then I remember my only regret that day: that it was over.
So if someone tells you
Go for it! And enjoy the ride.