|Packing area at Skydive Elsinore|
And tired. Yesterday I made four skydives with the Masters Skills Camp to help bring me up to speed for the record attempts we will make tomorrow, Monday. Actually, though, yesterday we already set a couple of records for women SOS (Skydivers Over Sixty), which I wrote about on my other blog. Here, I can talk about how I'm feeling, what I'm learning.
First of all, it's really wonderful to be in an environment of other skydivers from all over the world who are over sixty. It makes me realize that what I do is not THAT extreme, and that there are advantages to being older and wiser. Most of the people I've met are retired from their work careers and have either returned to an old flame (skydiving) or have taken up the sport at an advanced age. I credit tandem skydiving for the latter. Many people who overcome their fears by making a tandem jump realize that they are not too old to capture a dream and run with it. As one SOS woman said to me in an email, "I am 65 and it has finally sunk in, now with an urgency that both inspires and terrifies me, that I better do what makes me happy. Mortality does offer freedom does it not?"
Yes, it does indeed. I am reluctant to look ahead too far into the future, when my eyesight has failed (it's happening gradually but inexorably), my hearing has gone south, and my body will no longer take the pounding to which I subject it on a regular basis. I've got a couple of bruises and bangs from yesterday's jumps, a few sore muscles, but otherwise I feel confident that, unless something untoward happens, I will return home on Wednesday tired and happy. I didn't feel that confidence last Sunday when I was writing my post. I was afraid of the travel, thinking of all that could go wrong, and that perhaps I had become too rusty in my skydiving skills to do this. And I am definitely showing in the freefall videos that I have plenty of work to do in that department. But I'm doing it, and I will return to my home Drop Zone ready to go, all tuned up for the summer season.
There are many inspiring characters for me to hang out with. Yesterday I sat down between skydives and visited with John, a man from somewhere on the East Coast. He was on the record last year, so he is working with larger groups, making his jumps with 8 to 15 others. He was tired, too, and ready for the day to end so he could relax with a glass of wine. I felt the same way, but we both had one more skydive scheduled before we could call it a day. I caught up with him afterwards, while he was waiting for the dinner to be served. He said that the time change made it rather difficult for him to wait until 7:30pm to eat (it's three hours later for him), so he was having a snack of some gouda cheese, which he shared with me. He's a very interesting guy, and perhaps today I can find out what else he does with his life. I headed back to the hotel room, skipping the dinner.
My roommate is the other SOS woman who is seventy. She had just returned from a family vacation in Mexico, catching a plane from there directly to Los Angeles, renting a car and getting here late Friday night. Since she shipped her skydiving gear to Elsinore, she had very little baggage with her. If I ever do this again, I might do the same thing. It makes much more sense than wrestling with it through the airlines. I remember the days when traveling by air was luxurious, but not any more. A small carry-on bag is what I prefer to travel with, not a huge suitcase filled with skydiving gear, which of course must be checked through.
Although I am enjoying this adventure, I miss my partner at home, and I miss my daily routine. Next week when I write this post, it will be another cherished memory. Until then, I'll take it one day, one jump, and one step at a time. I hope that you too are enjoying your life and seizing the moment.