When I Turned 30, I Jumped Out of a Plane

Skydiving was everything I had hoped it would be and yet not what I had expected. You watch video after video of people jumping before your big day, but It’s impossible to imagine beforehand what it feels like, and what you see in front of (or below) you, when it’s you who is leaping out of a plane at 12,500 feet.

I’m not sure when I started thinking about skydiving, because for a very long time it was one of those things I said I would never do. Next thing I knew, it was on my bucket list with a due date of my 30th birthday.

So this past Saturday, on my 30th birthday, I headed to Skydive Toronto with anticipation and excitement for my first jump. After registration and training, it was finally time to head over to the loading area with my instructor, Igor.

“You will see,” he said, regarding how addictive skydiving can be.

I had waited 30 years to jump. He had been jumping for 30 years. I had no doubt that he knew what he was talking about.

As the plane ascended into the sky, finally reaching the clouds, I felt my first butterflies. I glanced over to the writing on the wall beside me: “NO FEAR. Love, Shania Twain.” I summoned the warrior courage within and felt that sheer excitement again.

I watched the first person jump out. It doesn’t even look like they jump. It just looks like they drop out of the plane and disappear into the sky below. It totally psyches you out and pumps you up at the same time.

Next thing I knew, I was right at the edge of the doorway, looking to the earth thousands of feet below. I then noticed my instructor giving me the hand signal and thought: “It’s time to jump!”

And we too dropped out of the plane.

Words cannot do justice and explain how amazing those first few seconds of falling through the sky and clouds are. It’s like the thrill and release of pent-up energy and excitement that you get when you go over the peak of a roller coaster and go hurtling down at some ridiculous angle and speed.

But it’s not. How can you compare anything to jumping out of a plane with nothing but a dude on your back and sheer trust? (Okay, so there might also be a parachute involved in there somewhere).

And how can you compare anything to experiencing yourself falling through a cloud? (Y’all know me and my cloud obsession).

You can’t.

You just have to do it. Then “you will see.”

After we dropped out of the cloud, our colourful parachute opened up and we floated peacefully downwards for the next five or six minutes. Igor pointed out Georgian Bay and even the Toronto skyline way off in the horizon. The CN Tower was just a little toothpick from my spot in the sky.

While we were floating, Igor said: “Let’s practice landing.”

I grabbed onto my harness straps, stuck my legs out and placed them over his. Then he pulled down on the toggles and we suddenly stopped, completely frozen in mid-air a few thousand feet above the earth.

It was unreal.

I was like: “Let’s do it again!” And we did.

We finally landed. It didn’t seem right to be back on the ground, on my feet. I just wanted to experience that jump over and over again.

Igor was right. I did see. And like him, I will definitely be back to relive one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

- Janice

Have you ever been skydiving (or have you always wanted to go)? Or What’s that crazy thing on your bucket list that you still need to get checked off?

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A huge thanks to L & L for taking me to my jump and sharing this amazing experience with me, to Igor for being an excellent, reassuring instructor who made me feel completely safe, and to Marc who really captured how much fun I was having with an amazing video!

Do You Own Your Ideas?

Janice gravatarA note from Cafe: I really wanted to thank my friend Seto for taking the time to write this post, especially given that he doesn’t write very often (and for someone who doesn’t, I think he writes really well!). In my opinion, it takes a lot of courage to put your personal experiences and opinions out there for people to judge, so I appreciate that he’s taken on a topic that I have been afraid to talk about on my blog :)

Also, my apologies for having been MIA on your blogs as of late. It’s been a busy couple of past weeks, but I’ll be coming around to visit soon!

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Being a long-time friend of Janice and a follower of her blog, I can say that she’s a diverse writer, excellent singer and has created a great, positive vibe on Your Daily Dose. I’ve always enjoyed rallying ideas with her about random topics. I’m not sure if I’ve changed any of her ideas, but she’s not afraid to put her ideas up to the challenge which is all that matters.

Which leads me to why I chose to write about: Ideas and self: Do you own your ideas? It may sound like a vague topic, but from my experience, all of my values, goals and even emotions have evolved by developing ideas into my own rather than accepting them as is. To me, ideas make the world go round. Ideas pass by us every day — some we laugh at and dismiss, while others are so rooted in our values and principles that we naturally develop tunnel vision. Continue reading

Writing From the Heart: Questions #13-14 (I Don’t Wanna Talk About It)

Today, I thought I would challenge myself and choose two questions that I originally did not want to answer for my “Writing From the Heart” series. I’m moody enough to do it. So here we go :)

This question, for me, is just asking to get into a debate about religion, which people have warned me to steer clear of on my blog. That’s why I didn’t want to go there. Well, the floor is now open.

I don’t remember when I started feeling the clock ticking, but it did happen at some point. I started thinking about other people’s mortality and then my own. Thought about how those who believe there is something else beyond this life have comfort in that. And those who don’t will feel the pressure that this is their only chance.

Is it a good thing to have that motivation? Does it compel a person to achieve more before time runs out? Or is life just more stressful and meaningless that way?

Discuss. But play nice.

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I think the question itself explains why I wouldn’t want to think or write about it.

But that’s exactly why I should think and write about it. Right?

I’ve told you about my recurring nightmares before. I’ve been having them for well over 15 years now consistently. It’s not that I don’t want to confront it. It’s not that I haven’t tried figuring out what the heck is going on in my brain. But I think sometimes we let things that have been so long-standing and a part of our lives just run its course. It becomes so tiring to analyze it, solve it, change it. And it also becomes such a normal feature in our every day that we kind of even forget how unhealthy it might be to us.

So now that I’ve publicly said it, I will make myself accountable to being more confrontational towards those damn monsters chasing me. They’re going down, I say!

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My apologies for the somber mood, but it’s been one of those weeks. I wanted to thank everyone again for helping me get my blog glitches under control. It’s really made me happy to know that people are reading and enjoying the blog! Look forward to hearing your thoughts today :)

- Cafe

Take a few minutes to ask yourself: When did you first realize that life is short? (Do you even think that life is short?) AND What issues do you continually refuse to confront? Write a post about it, share it in the comment box below, or just keep it to yourself ;)

Photo Credit: Questions 13 & 14

Is Blogging a Waste of Time?

In the past few days, three things happened that made me question: Am I wasting my time blogging?

1. I read an article by the Blog Tyrant titled “Why Blogging is a Waste of Your Time.”

2. One of my newest visitors, Whitt, left a very thought-provoking comment on being addicted to blogging after reading about my self-imposed 4-day social media ban.

3. I came across the Freshly Pressed post “Revenge of the Ping” by cheerful.egg about the weapons of mass distraction that we need to learn how to say “NO!” to.

Were the greater powers that be staging an intervention?

Just say no.

Why would blogging be a waste of time? Most people would say it’s because it takes away from doing other things — meaning other, more productive things.

To me, blogging is productive in many ways and really fulfills a creative need that I can’t always get elsewhere. But sometimes I’m not entirely sure if I’m starting to cross the line again.

It’s a good thing to check-in with yourself on this from time to time. And if you do feel like you might be wasting a lot of time on blogging, here’s some ideas on how you might be able to keep up your blog without sacrificing all of your precious time:

1. Post on the bus. I’ve spent many a bus and subway ride typing up blog post drafts in my Blackberry notes (if I wasn’t doing that, I’d be passed out in my seat).

Email myself the note, copy and paste into WordPress, and with some minor edits, I have a new blog post ready to go and don’t have to spend time creating a whole new work of art right there on the spot.

This goes for any other time you might be sitting around waiting by yourself — like for a doctor’s appointment, or for that girl/boyfriend who is always late.

2. Post less often. Some people like to post something once a day, sometimes multiple times a day. If you have time for it and that’s what you want to do, do it. But if you’re finding that it’s taking up way too much of your time, schedule a post for every two, three or even four days.

There’s a plus side to this too. There’s a better chance that more of your readers will get to read each blog post you put out there. As much as I love my blogroll, there’s no way I can keep up anymore with reading every post that each person writes, especially if they post every day.

3. Get a guest blogger. I don’t recommend doing it all the time, because in the end your followers are following YOU and want to read what YOU have to say. But if you know someone who has something interesting to say about the topics you tend to blog about and are willing to keep up with replying to comments, it can provide a nice little break for you.

4. Simplify some of your posts. Take a photo of something interesting and just write a paragraph about it. Sometimes people would rather just look at images than take the time to read a lot of text.

I’ll try to take my own advice on this and not to say so much all the time … after this post ;)

5. Do something just to blog about it. I know it sounds kind of weird, but go out and do something that you might not normally do just for the sake of blogging about it. If you can’t pry yourself away from writing up a next post, at least make it a point to get out there and experience something new, interesting and/or exciting that you can tell all your readers about.

Make blogging the motivation to do “real” stuff, rather than let it hinder you from experiencing those things. This way, you won’t feel guilty about wasting your time and you’ll probably have a kick-ass post to blog about!

- Cafe

Do you feel like blogging is taking up too much of your time? What are your tips for balancing your blog life with real life?