If you haven’t heard yet, I’ve finally reached the ripe ol’ age of 25. Yep that’s right, I’m finally able to proclaim that I’m a quarter of a century old. And let me tell you I am NOT taking it well. Where did all the time go? I still vividly remember staring at myself in the mirror as a youngster and imagining what I would be like as a 25 year old. I would have brown hair with chunky blonde streaks, a husband named Cliff and a house straight out of the Pottery Barn catalog. I’d boast a high paying job as an interior designer and I’d certainly have a 401k in place.
Well I looked in the mirror again, a few days ago, on my 25th birthday and laughed because the girl looking back at me didn’t have trendy hair. She didn’t even have a real job. So I decided at that moment that I only had one option. Jump off a bridge.
To be totally upfront with you, I’ve never really been stoked to go bungee jumping. I’m not afraid of heights and I live for a solid adrenaline rush but something about flinging myself off a bridge really terrified me- like a lot. So what changed? What could possibly have happened to make me change my mind? Old age happened. Turning 25 brought on this crazy slap in the face of “oh my god, I’m nearly 30 which is basically 40 and there is so much I want to do before I’m 50!”, so I panicked and signed up to do the one thing that scared me the most.
My family takes an annual vacation to Whistler Mountain each summer and this year our trip just so happened to land on my birthday. On September 10th I awoke in my hotel bed with my heart halfway up my throat as my partner in crime, Luke, and I prepared ourselves for the sheer terror that was about to take place. We spent our morning taking a casual hike and cherishing our last moments before embarking on our drive to the Bungee location. We slowly walked our way up the dirt road to the edge of the bridge and took a few deep breathes before making our way across to the registration booth. My poor mother, who is deathly afraid of heights and watching her daughter plunge to her death, needed an escort to help her scamper across the bridge to the viewpoint. Luke and I played it cool as our trembling hands signed our lives away and we geared up to jump. The nervous giggles kicked in as my harness was tightened onto my body and I quickly made the decision that I should jump first because I knew that if I thought about it any longer I would turn and run away.
At least the view was beautiful. Not a bad way to die…
Most of my life I’ve been pretty confident in the status of my mental capabilities; remaining level headed and rational is what I do best. Except for now. Because really, what I was about to do was not rational in the slightest. Every cell in my body wanted to curl up into fetal position, my legs were no way in hell going to propel me off that ledge and my fingers were going to grasp the handrail like ancient tree roots.
Three, two, one… holy shit. I jumped. My trembling legs collapsed underneath me and I took flight. I let out a blood curdling scream and flailed my arms like a wounded pterodactyl. And then I let it all go. I relinquished control and time as I knew it stopped.
I felt the wind swirling around me as the river below grew closer and closer but all of my fear had disappeared. It turned into something beautiful. I was free. So viscerally free. If it weren’t for the bungee attached to my chest, I’m sure I would have flown off into the comforts of the canyon. Then, just like that, the cord reached it’s pinnacle and cradled me softly into my next free fall. At this point the joy was bursting from my lips. I could practically taste the excitement as laughter roared up through my body. Pure bliss, that’s all I can say.
As I hung there in my harness I was in awe, but mostly I was proud. I did it. And I wanted to do it again. Fear is an interesting thing. It’s there for a reason; it helps keep you alive. But I think that more often than not it just gets in the way of letting you really live. As humans, we tend to overthink everything because we are highly evolved cognitive creatures. But that’s boring. Fight evolution and take some risks. Jump of some bridges!
Aside from doing the jump yourself, the next best thing is watching someone else do it. I was stoked for Luke to take his turn and screeched with excitement as he propelled himself off the edge. I practically relived my jump through his. For lack of better words, Luke and I were high. We were so amped on the experience that we could hardly speak. I can still hardly talk about it without a racing heart.
I wish I could grab you by the shoulders and shake you until you believed me that you have to try bungee jumping. Hopefully you will just take my word for it. It was by far the most exhilarating experience I have had yet and I have no idea how I am ever going to top that feeling.