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 know how you’ll actually feel 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 rise inside me 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. Then, I noticed my instructor giving me the hand signal and knew: “It’s time to jump!”

And we too dropped out of the plane.

Words cannot fully 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 on to 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 said: “Let’s do it again!” And we did.

We finally landed. It didn’t seem right to be back on the ground and on my feet. I just wanted to experience free-falling through the clouds 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!

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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, four-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 time away from doing other things — meaning other, more productive things.

To me, blogging is productive in many ways and 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 every so often. And if you do feel like you might be wasting a lot of time on blogging, here’s some ideas on how you can 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 app (if I wasn’t doing that, I’d be passed out in my seat).

Email myself the note, copy and paste it 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 killing time — like for a doctor’s appointment or when you’re waiting for that significant other who is always late.

2. Post less often. Some people like to post something new once a day, sometimes multiple times a day. If you have time for it and that’s what you want to do, carry on. 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 another plus side to this strategy. Writing less often means there’s a better chance that more of your readers will get to read each new published post. 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 single day.

3. Get a guest blogger. I don’t recommend doing it all the time, because at the end of the day your followers are following YOU and want to read what YOU have to say. But if you know someone who has something interesting to contribute to your blog and is 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 one compelling paragraph about it. Sometimes people would rather just look at intriguing images than take the time to read a whole 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 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. That way, you won’t feel guilty about wasting your time and you’ll probably have a kick-ass post to blog about as a result!

– Cafe <3

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?