Between You and the Very Hard Ground

 

This is a guest post by miss Annette O’Neil who runs Clever Ginger Creative and who splashes her colorful prose all over the carpet, walls, ceiling, etc. at her blog, Here There Be Tygers. Take a look at her work and be inspired; I’m a big fan.

It’s a lot like the first day of school, actually.

Someone helps you put on a heavy backpack, gives you a bit of grave advice, cheerfully wishes you luck, and watches you climb the stairs to get into the vehicle. You squeeze into a seat among the jostling crowd, every member of which is much, much cooler than you are. You fold your hands in your lap, and you look out the window.

And then you take off.

Skydiving is a funny thing.

The first time you manage to convince yourself to go near the door (basically, a gaping maw of sky that’s roaring with what seems to be hurricane-force wind), you have to speculate to yourself why you’re standing there. After all, you were the one who ambled up to the counter at the dropzone below, slapped your credit card on the desk, listened to the safety briefing, strapped yourself into the gear, and showed the nice instructor how nicely you arch your back for aerodynamics. You did these things because you knew that somewhere between this plane – thirteen thousand feet over a bit of very hard ground – and the aforementioned very hard ground, there was something you wanted.

So now you’re here, and there are some pairs of eyes looking at you (and the little green light by your head) rather expectantly.

So you line your toes up to the edge, give the handle on your pilot chute one more little tap, and here goes nothin.’ Whoosh.

The first few times you do it, it’s much the same. You think about it before you drift off (that thing that happened to that guy, when his gear acted up and his reserve didn’t quite take and they had to scrape him up with a spatula and a wet/dry vacuum), but you wake up wanting to jump. And soon, you always wake up wanting to jump. ‘Cause you and that guy – well, you’re different. And if your gear acts up, you’re pretty sure you’ll get it sorted before they have to break out the spatulas. And if you don’t? Well, you sure as hell got on that plane. And that’s saying something.

Radical lifestyle design is like that, too. When you start out, it’s a lark. When you realize it’s not a silly fancy and you start taking steps, it has all the playful look-what-I’m-doing fun of playing dress-up in a skydiving jumpsuit and wiggling into a rig. Most of us in the LIP community actually get on a plane to seal the deal, and it’s much like that first jump: suddenly, every glorious/badass/wet-dry-vacuum-manifesting aspect of the thing becomes critically evident.

It’s at the door that you get to make your choice. Do I live this, right now, and embrace everything that it actually is? Or do I step back, and live vicariously?

Here’s the thing about living vicariously: you can watch Indiana Jones a thousand times, but it’ll always end the same way. And you, I’m sorry to say, are never in it.

I have an idea.

Jump.

24 comments

  1. I did a tandem sky-dive once and I still get sweaty palms just thinking about it! I still don’t like heights!

    As for taking a metaphorical leap… I actually remind myself of Indiana Jones, nothing ventured nothing gained.

    ‘Fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory’.

  2. I did a tandem sky-dive once and I still get sweaty palms just thinking about it! I still don’t like heights!

    As for taking a metaphorical leap… I actually remind myself of Indiana Jones, nothing ventured nothing gained.

    ‘Fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory’.

  3. This was delightful. Thank you.

    I’m trying to figure out how to justify going sky diving with a wife and 4-month old at home.

    I think I’ll just have to wait until the baby’s a bit older and take him and the wife with me!

  4. This was delightful. Thank you.

    I’m trying to figure out how to justify going sky diving with a wife and 4-month old at home.

    I think I’ll just have to wait until the baby’s a bit older and take him and the wife with me!

  5. Nice writing. You’re right, with LIP the moment you get on that plane it’s an exhilarating feeling – the knowledge that you’ve taken a leap which you cannot take back and that will change your life.

  6. Nice writing. You’re right, with LIP the moment you get on that plane it’s an exhilarating feeling – the knowledge that you’ve taken a leap which you cannot take back and that will change your life.

  7. Awesome. What a great description of the skydiving experience. I think I’m more likely to make a major lifestyle change (quit my job) than skydive, but hey, you never know I guess. Nice post Annette, and your blog is very cool!

  8. Awesome. What a great description of the skydiving experience. I think I’m more likely to make a major lifestyle change (quit my job) than skydive, but hey, you never know I guess. Nice post Annette, and your blog is very cool!

  9. No desire to sky dive – but I love the analogy! I think that is the beauty of being location independent – you have a clear turning point – getting on that plane. I wish all life transitions were like that.

  10. No desire to sky dive – but I love the analogy! I think that is the beauty of being location independent – you have a clear turning point – getting on that plane. I wish all life transitions were like that.

  11. Annette,
    Great!
    I guess we all have our own version of jumping out of the plane–the solo free fall when its just you and the NOISE and your job is to preform the next step and then the next…while keeping your thoughts off *spatula time*.
    Your post is reminding me to feel a little more courageous about the choices I’ve made.
    Thank you for that!
    Jill

  12. Annette,
    Great!
    I guess we all have our own version of jumping out of the plane–the solo free fall when its just you and the NOISE and your job is to preform the next step and then the next…while keeping your thoughts off *spatula time*.
    Your post is reminding me to feel a little more courageous about the choices I’ve made.
    Thank you for that!
    Jill

  13. I agree with you there Monica. Its so hard to train our brains into seeing transitions and ideas as clear cut leaving the ground no coming back one way tickets. I think if we did that more in life…we might find a lot more success. It comes down to follow through and will power I guess.

  14. I agree with you there Monica. Its so hard to train our brains into seeing transitions and ideas as clear cut leaving the ground no coming back one way tickets. I think if we did that more in life…we might find a lot more success. It comes down to follow through and will power I guess.

  15. One of my favorite movie scenes is from Point Break, where bank robber Patrick Swayze just skydived away from FBI agent Keanu Reeves.

    Reeves doesn’t have a parachute so he paces back and forth, yet decides to jump anyway.

    In my life, the greatest personal growth has always come for large leaps of faith.

  16. One of my favorite movie scenes is from Point Break, where bank robber Patrick Swayze just skydived away from FBI agent Keanu Reeves.

    Reeves doesn’t have a parachute so he paces back and forth, yet decides to jump anyway.

    In my life, the greatest personal growth has always come for large leaps of faith.

  17. This is a kickass post miss Annette O’Neil! I still remember the time I went skydiving very vividly. I also have a huge fear of heights, but that was one of the most exciting and freeing sensations I’ve ever experienced. When I got back on the ground, I immediately wanted to go again! :)

    Thanks for pushing people to actually take the plunge.

  18. This is a kickass post miss Annette O’Neil! I still remember the time I went skydiving very vividly. I also have a huge fear of heights, but that was one of the most exciting and freeing sensations I’ve ever experienced. When I got back on the ground, I immediately wanted to go again! :)

    Thanks for pushing people to actually take the plunge.

  19. Never did skydiving, but life put me in some dangerous and hard to control situations every now and then. I think the closest situation was when I was 18, was serving in the army, and got caught in a thing called Romanian Revolution. I actually stepped into a war, without any preparation whatsoever. Needless to say that the following weeks marked me for life.

    So, I can totally relate to that undefinable dose of courage you need to experience life to the fullest. Sometimes there are other guys who make that choice for you, as in my case, but the good news is you can do that too.

    Great reading :-)

  20. Never did skydiving, but life put me in some dangerous and hard to control situations every now and then. I think the closest situation was when I was 18, was serving in the army, and got caught in a thing called Romanian Revolution. I actually stepped into a war, without any preparation whatsoever. Needless to say that the following weeks marked me for life.

    So, I can totally relate to that undefinable dose of courage you need to experience life to the fullest. Sometimes there are other guys who make that choice for you, as in my case, but the good news is you can do that too.

    Great reading :-)

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