Fear is such a complex emotion. It can be a motivator. It can be a catalyst for change. It can be a life preserver.
But it can also be a prison.
I grew up with an extensive mental list of what was safe and what was unsafe. Physically, socially, mentally - I had barriers on all sides to insulate myself. But more than any of those, my relationship with heights has always been the most unhealthy. And then I met Kristen, a person who miraculously is missing the "fear" center in her brain. I wouldn't say that Kris is reckless, but I wouldn't say she's not reckless.
Since we've been together, I have become more bold than I ever thought possible. And last weekend, I took the final step in my transformation when we headed down to Skydive Spaceland and jumped out of an airplane at 14,000 feet.
These are our buddies Callen and Abbi. Over the past seven years, they have become such an integral part of our tribe. I don't want to gush, but these two are pretty dang special to me and Kris. They are climbers, photogs, videographers, story-tellers, adventurers and overall just our kind of people. Seriously, right now, go to www.abbihearne.com or check out their Instagram feeds: www.instagram.com/abbihearne and www.instagram.com/callenhearne. They recently decided that it was time for a change and they are (as of today!) going fully mobile to live out of a Subaru and camper with their pup, Charles Matthew.
Abbi also recently became a licensed skydiver. So as Kristen and I were coming up with going-away party ideas, there was seemingly only one option. We were going to jump from a plane together.
Also at play was a gentleman's agreement made between myself and my buddy Steven eight years ago. When Kristen and I moved to Bonaire, he and I made a pact that if he would not only get Scuba certified but also come down to the Caribbean and allow us to take him on a night dive, I would jump from a plane. Seeing as we have known each other since the 4th grade, I was well-versed in his unreasonable fear of the ocean and he was quite familiar with my outrageous fear of heights.
The problem with the whole scenario is that, like an idiot, he actually kept his end of the deal. 8 years later, we were headed down to Spaceland to fulfill the rest of the pact.
The team of sky-walkers assembled:
Although there were definite nerves and trepidations, I was most overwhelmed by how each of us had come to intentionally confront our fears. Even Abbi, a skilled, licensed jumper admitted that there was still a dose of nerves every time she got on the plane.
But as we were geared up, waiting for our plane to arrive, I realized that I wasn't really there to skydive. I was there to experience the shock of my greatest fear because I NEED to continually push myself to my perceived limits. I've learned over 34 years that when that drive begins to wane, I just feel...off.
So, most surprisingly to me, I climbed onto a plane that I knew I would eventually fall out of at a great height with total peace.
This is my other buddy, Steven. He is equally terrified of heights, but he jumped, eyes closed but willing.
Abbi is a BA:
Gentleman's Agreement fulfilled.