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?

* * *

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!


62 thoughts on “When I Turned 30, I Jumped Out of a Plane

  1. You are dead right you ‘just have to do it’, Janice, and only then you’ll see.

    OMG I didn’t know you’d done this!!! This is exactly what Daniel & me did on his 16th birthday on 24 January 2012. IT WAS UNFORGETTABLE :) :)

    I loved reading this – you took me right back there.

  2. Let’s definitely jump out of a plane again! I love your pictures. I didn’t share my experience for a long time, it felt so surreal. Thinking now, that jump was one of the best feelings of feeling free and secure – as strange as that may be falling from the sky. Wish we could do it again. Let me know the next time you need a “ride” to go sky diving. I’ll _drive_ up with you. wink wink..

    • Hehe, okay, expect me to call you for my 40th birthday =P

      I know what you mean, I didn’t feel scared. It was just thrilling. I think being with a good instructor helped too. He definitely made me feel safe.

    • Thanks! Glad to see that you have also got to experience it first hand! :)
      Bungee jumping is definitely NOT on my bucket list lol! I dunno, there is something about it that I find so much scarier than skydiving.

        • I know, huh? Sometimes it seems weird that we’re not afraid to do certain things like skydiving but then we’re petrified of other things that seem so much less intimidating to others :)

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    • Amazing, over the Rockies?!?! Now that’s a first experience!
      Oh, my pleasure, thanks so much for reading. And I’m definitely feeling younger at heart as I’m getting older :D
      Have an amazing time!!!

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  6. Janice, You’ve got it! You’re such an inspiration. I wanna experience skydiving,jumped out and conquer my fear of falling. you’re flying on your 30th birthday, eh…Ole to you!

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  8. First, Happy Birthday.

    In one of my favorite movies Clint Eastwood said, “There is no good reason to jump out of a perfectly good plane,” (I am paraphrasing). I am with Clint on this one, I cannot imagine myself ever for any reason jumping out of a plane, not even certain I could bring myself to jump out of a bad one, might just need to go down with the ship as it were.

    Nevertheless, your pictures were wonderful and I am glad for you!

    • Thanks, Valentine! Much appreciated :)

      Haha, yeah, I’ve heard that said at least a couple of times recently. Lol you can’t go down with the ship!! The survival instincts would kick in. Or someone would just throw you overboard =P

    • HAVE AN AMAZING TIME!!!!! You’re gonna love it!!!
      Thanks for the bday wishes!
      Happy birthday to you as well, whenever that may be! :)

  9. Well HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ms. ‘Full-of-Surprises! What a memorable way to celebrate it! I love the pictures! And the looks on your/ their faces. So how do you top this for your 40th & 50th? …if, in fact, you continue to (recognize) age at all. I know sometimes year 30 can a magical year. Have a great birthday week, month and year Cafe!

    • Thanks, Mr. Andy :)
      My expressions totally crack me up. I love it!
      I’m actually planning to ring in every decade with a jump now haha!

  10. Wow i have always wanted to do that, since i was 12 or something. so it’s on my big list to do:) happy birthday btw:) and as always i enjoy reading your blog:)

    • Thank you, BC! It was the perfect way to bring in the new decade! Definitely try it out if you’re interested. You won’t be disappointed! :)

  11. Hi,
    Wow, fantastic photos, good on you, I would never be able to do that, but I do admire you for giving it a go and having fun as well congrats. :D

    • Oh FiveReflections – WP says your site is no longer available. Do you have another, David? Or maybe just this June link doesn’t work.

      Just wanted to drop in, read your stuff… Let me know if you’re still out there :)

    • Hi! Thanks for reading! :)
      I think I’ve realized that we all have our own things that we’re afraid of doing and things that we have courage in. People were laughing at me afterwards at the things I was scared of doing and said: “but you just went skydiving!” :)

  12. Janice what an amazing post!! You look like you really loved it and I can almost imagine doing this having seen these pictures! Looking forward to the video!!

    • Thanks, Pete!
      I get really happy just looking at the video because I just look so … Happy. Lol. Makes me feel very young at heart. I highly recommend it!!

  13. WOW! This should be a great feeling and experience dear Janice. Bravo, I admire what you did. Probably I can’t do this… My heart can stop… Happy Birthday to you, by the way, you seem younger than your age. My birthday is tomorrow :) But don’t ask me how old I am, younger than you :) Thank you, with my love, nia

    • Thanks, Nia! It WAS the most amazing feeling and experience!!
      Most people say I look younger than my age, but I’ve always felt older than my age until more recently :)
      HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY, NIA!!! I hope you have a great one :)
      And thank you so much for reblogging this!

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