Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Thrill of Free Fall at 70 by Pat Bean

Here she goes!
 Skydiving was one of those things on my To-Do List for an long as I can remember, but it took me a long time to finally get around to it. George Bush doing it, and Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman's roles in "The Bucket List" were the final straws that made me realize how long I had let this goal escape me.

So, shortly after my 69th birthday,  on which I climbed to Angel's Landing for about the 30th time -- and this one being the toughest struggle to get to the top yet -- I decided to do something different for my 70th birthday, something that didn't include climbing. Skydiving immediately came to mind.

I made the Jump in Ogden with a half dozen friends, and would do it again in a heartbeat -- well if it didn't cost about $200 per jump. I smiled all the way down, feeling perfectly safe, lashed tightly as I was to my young, good-looking, expert jumpmaster.
I had thought the most difficult part was going to be stepping out of the airplane. My jumpmaster was way ahead of me, however. He said we would jump on the count of three, but by the count of two we had already left the plane. It was exhilarating.

We jumped from 13,000 feet, above the clouds hanging around Mount Ben Lomond and Mount Ogden. We had a full minute of free fall, with cold air blasting us as we dropped at the rate of 120 miles per hour, before the jumpmaster pulled the chute.

While I have to admit that age has slowed me down in some ways, it's opened up new worlds for me as well. When I do make that climb to the top of the mountain, or simply go for a mellow walk with my dog, Maggie, I see more wonders of nature than I ever did when in the bloom of youth.

While this country is addicted to youth, there are plenty of us glad-to-be-old-broads out there who have come to appreciate our years and our winkles.

15 comments:

  1. You take spunky to the extreme, Pat! Way to go!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  2. Wow...my spunkiness pales in comparison, and although I won't jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I did parasail at 700 ft while in Hawaii and I loved it. Of course, I tried to get out of it, but shamed into taking the risk, I'm proud that I did. Pat, you do us Seniors proud.

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  3. I can tell I am not spunky enough--I will never jump from an airplane--unless it was going down and I had parachute. Yikes! Too scary.
    Congratulations to you! I'm proud of any of us who steps out and does something different--just not stepping out of a plane! Celia

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  4. Pat is spunky to the extreme, but we're all spunky in our own way! Ginger, parasailing sounds awfully spunky to me.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  5. Thanks for all the nice comments. Parasailing is still on my to-do list Ginger. From my perspective that's just as daring as skydiving. What's important, however, is that we don't let age get in the way of following our dreams. Things like learning a new language or taking college classes can require just as much spunk. Thanks Morgan for the blog. I love it.

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  6. I don't think spunky covers it, Pat. You're a rock star!!

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  7. Wow, sky diving is not something I even remotely want to try - but it's awesome that Pat did it. I'm just not a dare-devil kinda gal. Morgan, this is such a great idea for a blog. And I love the photos at the top now.
    Karen

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  8. Keep the brain busy and the heart will stay young. Great story!

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  9. Pat,
    You are truly spunky! I'm thrilled to have experienced this through your eyes because I will forever be an armchair skyjumper. It is way too out there for me, but I deeply admire your courage and spirit of adventure!
    Maggie
    who shares a name with your dog!

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  10. Pat, I am dizzy just reading about your sky diving. I am afraid of height. It took me two years to walk by myself on the balcony of my own 22nd floor apartment. You have my deepest admiration. My neighbor who is 95 told me how she went parasailing for her 75th birthday and then again at eighty to encourage her granddaughter who was afraid of doing it on her own.

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  11. Awesome, Pat. I blogged today about Orange Jumptown, my home town in Massachusetts. A skydiver nearly landed on me, managed to clear a picket fence and landed in a front yard. I don't think I'd have the guts to jump out of a plane unless it was on fire.

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  12. Pat, you're amazing and number one on my spunky lady list. :)

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  13. That would rate as top spunky senior in my opinion. We share the same name but not the same bravery level. I would never have the guts to do a sky jump. I get dizzy looking out of a second floor window.

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  14. Now THIS is inspiring!! Don't think I'll ever jump from a plane, but your story is encouragement to keep dreaming BIG and taking chances, no matter what the age.
    Thank you!

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  15. You rock, Pat! I would be so scared, but on the other hand, I'd love to skydive. Yay for you!

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