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!