Jump Number Three

where am I going to find clean underwear in the middle of this field -Larry

Hmm.. That’s one hell of a question. I knew right away that it would be more difficult to answer than the last. Just saw another message come through.. And wow, that made me smile just now. Life really is just like skydiving. Sometimes you just have to breathe, relax and let things happen in their proper time. Jump number three was a good day in proper sight, in fact, it was really one of the best. Of course, it took me until just now to realize it… though, it may still take a while to type it out slow.

Why? Well, I learned a lot about myself that day. Before then, I had just two priorities in life and they always seemed to be pulling me in opposite directions.. work and family. Yes, I know know that’s backwards, but it is how I thought back then. I didn’t know it for a few more years, but the week before I had already made the choice to get a divorce. From that time on, I really had four priorities, as I had subconsciously split one and had put it on the bottom of the list and added a new one…  work, family, skydive, wife. This time, completely unbeknownst to me, the same thing happened again. On July 7th, 2007, my lucky day, while I waited all day for my first (of three) Cat C, 2 Instructor skydives..  I had a one in a million server fault.

I had previously designed a system myself (this just a few years before the now commonly available online solutions), that I considered fail proof. Data spread on three independent servers, on two continents, completely separated in all ways, other than the Internet itself, and all set to continuously backup up data to each other. My core back up for all my work ever done, for years and years.. my entire career. My plan considered all possible failures, however, I considered a three way simultaneous failure to be impossible. However.. on that day, I pulled the handle on the game of life.. and I won the jackpot, triple 7’s. I didn’t even know it until late the next day, but the one in a million triple failure had occurred. It took me almost three months to re-type that work, for my very best clients at least.. it’s a good thing my memory is.. unique.

I know that might seem like a bad thing to some, but I do promise I have a smile on my face right now. That day was a silver bullet that killed my successful corporation, or else.. I might never have been able to walk away. It takes a long time to say thank you for something like that. Thank you skydiving, you saved me from being the 1%.

After that day, I did pull back together the pieces and continued to support myself. However, those rebuilt pieces came back together in a new place in my list. After my family and skydiving. My new priority list? Family, Skydiving, Work. My lucky day, 777, finally put my priorities in their proper place.

Okay, okay.. on to the jump. Here is another example of what not to do. If you sit at the dz for more than a few hours in the hot sun, you had better remember to bring a case of water! And while you’re at it, be sure to at least walk next door for some of that BBQ or a salad. Skydiving and it’s toll on your mind and body, absolutely require you to be well fed and nourished with water. You will not do your best otherwise.

The jump itself? Well, another good count and exit.. arching was better out the door. However, something was off.. I couldn’t figure if it was my arms or legs that were out too much and I kept changing my mind. Of course, this is also known as “porpoising” or “potato chipping” and in either case will not earn you a release on your Category C skydive. I made this mistake over and over until I reached my time to pull. Trust me, when I focus on one single thing that I need to do to save my life, it gets done, slow is fast and time can stand still. My radio malfunctioned on that jump and I’m so glad I had the next few minutes of solitude. I told myself the jump didn’t matter and I only focused on how I wanted to land in the middle of that field. Good enough to make my Instructors pass me anyway, I hoped at the time.

I completely put my past mistakes out of my mind and I fully relaxed for the first time that day. And that is how I got my first stand up landing in the middle of the student side, about 20 feet from the edge of the peas. And yes, maybe in my own way at the time, I thought about your clean underwear question Larry. But I knew, if I relaxed and focused on my task at hand, exactly where I would find them when I landed.

Exactly where I put them that morning, around my waist.

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