Warning: the below recollection may be inappropriate for younger readers.
This past New Year’s Eve a friend of mine observed that the holiday will never be as fun as the year we welcomed 2000. Y2K aside, nothing compares to the scale of the end of the twentieth century. More than a decade prior Prince had it right we he said we were gonna party like it’s 1999 because none of us have partied again like we did that night. Any legal adult can recall the celebration at that landmark occasion.
We humans commemorate significant dates, remarkable occasions, and landmark birthdays to gauge the passage of time. Days that live in infamy, quinceñareas, the last episode of M*A*S*H, Willard Scott’s roll call all hold meaning and recollection for us, and I am guilty of marking the passage of time similarly. And like many single women, at some point we all take the leap from “a perfectly good airplane” (you’d be amazed how many people use that exact phrase), and for me I marked three decades with such a leap on my birthday.
The Best Analogy Ever
Since childhood I have been a fan of the Looney Toons team of Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote and I adored the moment after the villain passes over the edge of the cliff and lingers in the air, and believe it or not, that moment actually happens when emerging from the door of an aircraft. No one told me that, and no one mentioned how incredibly difficult it is to breathe when falling nearly 100 miles per hour. Clearly I did not research the experience, I just took the leap.
Likewise, no one told me how much skydiving ranks akin to really great sex. First, there is the anticipation and understanding of where the experience is heading as the plane takes flight. Second, the heart rate increases as the open-door aircraft makes several passes over the drop zone for the variety of experience-level jumpers. Third, standing at the open door and looking down towards the earth, all the way to the horizon, the excitement of the moment nears its peak. Fourth, the jump itself is the comparative moment you think it is, and for the next roughly sixty seconds breathing is shallow, often gasping for air enough to maintain consciousness. Fifth, coasting down from the high that passed, normal breathing patterns return along with time to enjoy the view. Sixth, touchdown, and the experience is a memory that passed quickly but changes the perspective tremendously. And lastly, I get dressed and go home. Take the leap, remember the moment; you won’t regret it.