*A note from Blixt Locally Grown: Our organizational ethos is one of embracing risk and taking "the leap." Board Member Dr. Darl Naumann shares a story about a recent leap he took, and what he learned.
The year has been somewhat challenging, with COVID-19 placing an obstacle in front of almost every event I’d been looking forward to for months.
My son Sam saw a coupon for skydiving at in our hometown of Holdrege. We considered it.
Why not? We decided to go for it! Fast forward to the sky...
Jumpers onboard, doors closed and the plane took off into the air to reach the altitude. Then it rose higher and higher as the altimeter crawled slowly up—over two miles! And I knew we were getting close.
The pilot had planned something special, and he said, “we are about to experience Zero-G.” The instructor in front of me had not put on his helmet, and it began to float in the cockpit. I placed my hand on the roof of the plane as I became weightless.
This weightlessness was something few people get to experience. I felt like “Peter Pan” before gravity took over as we soared again to 14,000 feet. For 20 seconds, the zero gravity was the realization of every boy’s childhood dream.
Then reality as the door of the plane opened and a cold wind filled your lungs. Jumpers began to inch their way toward the opening.
Soon, I was standing at the opening of the airplane. My toes on the ledge pointing toward something unknown. My instructor said we would jump on “three” but we jumped on “one”!
The feeling was surreal. I just didn’t know what to think. All I could do was be present to feel the sensation of soaring through the air. I knew from the reading that the free fall would only last 60 seconds. That minute became 60 seconds of adrenaline-fueled sweetness.
I quickly went into a skydiving position with arms bent and back and knees bent - the “banana” position the instructor was so careful to explain in his presentation. A few short seconds into the one-minute freefall I was relaxed! A kinda-otherworldly feeling of lasting forever – while at the same time feeling that it’s over almost before it starts.
Thus began the rush everyone talks about and it sticks in your mind indefinitely.
Freefall is unequalled...
Finally, the instructor pulled the cord and I went from a feeling of uncomfortable unknowingness to a state of calm peace as I floated slowly downward.
I steered from left to right and made my landing.
During this unbelievable experience, I learned a few things that I’m happy to share:
Don’t analyze too much.
If I would have thought too much beforehand about the experience that lay before me, I probably would have talked myself right out of even trying. I think soberly about my decisions in life. That’s wisdom. But overanalyzing to the point of paralysis gets you nowhere.
There may be some waiting time in between learning how to do something and actually doing it.
I may feel that I’m ready to go forward but the conditions all around me are shaped by the world. Skydiving requires clear conditions, and they’re worth waiting for.
The first step or two out of my comfort zone will feel uncomfortable and even scary but if I continue to go forward, I’ll realize that I am moving along my journey of life.
Stepping outward and taking a risk made space for an exceptional father-son experience I’ll not forget.
Final lesson..Don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
You just might have an adventure of a lifetime!
Blixt Locally Grown