|Getting married in freefall, 5 May 1994|
I met Smart Guy through skydiving, and when we decided to marry a couple of years after we met, it was inevitable that it would be in the air. The picture shows us in freefall over Loveland, Colorado. I was wearing my wedding "dress" with rainbow grippers (those things skydivers grip in order to make formations). We exchanged vows before we got on the airplane, but in Colorado you can state when and where you will be married and you don't need an official to officiate. On our wedding certificate, we stated that we would be married when we passed through 5,500 feet while in freefall on May 5, 1994, and that's all we needed to do. And there we are, right then passing through that altitude. Our "best man" was the cameraman.
I was 51 years old on that day, and it seemed impossible to imagine that I would still be skydiving twenty years later, but I am. Smart Guy has probably already made his last skydive, and my last one is not far away, either. This is my last season, which I've decided for various reasons, not the least of which is that I'd like to choose to stop rather than being forced to because of injury. My knees are rather essential items for me to continue to be active, and they are not in the best shape these days. That's one reason, but there are others, too. While I still have the wherewithal, I'd like to pursue some other directions in life.
But that day twenty years ago, it was simply wonderful. We didn't have what you would call a traditional day, but it was just right for us. No cake, no reception other than the congratulations of our skydiving peers, who were around to enjoy the day's blue skies, and each other. It has been a very interesting and educational journey. I realize now that my previous marriages failed more because I didn't know how to compromise, and because I had been led to believe that if you weren't "in love," that first stage of infatuation, it was because the person wasn't right, and I went looking for that state again and again.
Now I realize that marriage should be a combining of two lives into another one altogether. Both of us think that we have changed more than the other, and that's probably true: I am definitely a different person today, but so is he. We do things for each other because we really like to experience the resulting happiness. What happens to one of us happens to the other. Although we are not likely to have a fiftieth wedding anniversary, we might easily have another decade or two together, enjoying our life from day to day.
Anniversaries are a time to take stock and give thanks for the past year, decade, or longer, don't you think? I am a healthier and happier person today because of my partner. All I have to do is look in the fridge at the wonderful food he has prepared for me to know part of the reason for that. He also doesn't tell me how to spend my days and supports me in my endeavors. We have stimulating conversations and other things we like to do together, but we also have our own pursuits. For example, my friend Judy is my movie companion because I like movies that don't interest him, or he would rather see it later in our home than be subjected to the crowds and extreme volume of the movie theater.
I am a social exerciser, and he is a solitary one. If I didn't attend classes and go hiking with a group, I wouldn't get much exercise, while he is self-directed and walks by himself. Occasionally we will go out together, and tomorrow is one of those days. I'm going to take him to one of my favorite outdoor places and we'll celebrate our special day together. As you can see, skydiving has given me much, much more than simply a sport. It really changed my life, because I met a wonderful life partner through it.
|After our tenth anniversary skydive|