Monday, October 24, 2011

Aft facing forward

Monday, October 17th, 1:46 p.m

Countdown to my 20th birthday… 6 days, 10 hours and 14 minutes, but let’s just call it “countdown to breakdown”. What I am going through right now is what people would refer to as a “quarter-life crisis”. I don’t know if this term exists but it should. The most terrifying thing about turning twenty is that you are finally putting your teen years behind and really beginning adulthood, no excuses.
We use the term aft facing forward at work when referring to the orientation of the engine, but in my case, I am trying to reflect on my past teen years (aft) while looking ahead to my unfolding future (forward). The problem with turning twenty is carrying around the regret of wasted teen years. What have I done in all these years that would make me feel like I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life…my twenties?
And that should explain why I have decided to go jump out of a perfectly good airplane today. Yes, I am going skydiving and yes, I feel pretty good about it, I will finally have something significant to mark my teen years. Whether this is a good idea or not is not up for discussion. I mean isn’t that how people decide to do risky things? No? Well that’s how I did it :/

I hope to feel a sense of accomplishment; I expect to feel relieved when it’s done. I definitely need to enjoy the thrill and excitement. But every time I imagine myself standing on that edge, I have to remind myself all the reasons why this is good for me. The best one I have come up with is that since I am a pilot-in-training, I might actually need this experience at some point. So…that’s what I am going with, and the fact that I won’t get a refund if I chicken-out at the last minute. This is happening.

Tuesday, October 18th, 9.22 a.m

Folks, I did it! I saved the legacy of my teen years and, with 5 days left to spare! I am now officially a risk taker. This should define and shape my future, somewhat. The best part of jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet? The landing, for sure. It’s a bit bumpy and awkward when you are have a person strapped to your back, but it’s solid ground, you can’t beat that.

Despite my anxiety at the beginning, I finally decided that it was probably the coolest thing I have ever done, aside from learning how to fly. Would I do it again? Sure …maybe at my next major life crisis? It was exhilarating as much as it was dangerous. I do feel accomplished, I am extremely relieved to be back on earth and I enjoyed every heart-throbbing, free-falling, parachute-flying, ground-landing moment of it. I wouldn’t advise against it, for all you adventure-seekers out there!

I feel better now about turning twenty, it’s still scary when I think about all the things I could have done and didn’t, but I am sure that there will be plenty of time to travel the world, stop world hunger and invent a side-walk escalator-like thing (everyone who has had to go up freshman hill should understand why this would be important, and urgent.) I will change the world, just not right now and not all at once.

Monday, October 24, 7.20 a.m

So….. I turned twenty and surprisingly, there was no meltdown or breakdown, imagine that!
I have now officially stepped into my twenties and with a good story to tell about my teen years. As I turned twenty, my friends congratulated me on defying teen pregnancy and I gracefully said “Thank you,…. I think”.
Now that I have put that behind me, maybe I should start working on this saving the world gig, maybe take it one day at a time. And to all you twenty-something year olds out there, I am now your fellow and the world is our oyster (I’ve been told) and the rest of you, the best of luck as you try to figure out this thing called life.

Always facing forward!