Drop zones all around the country and world host spectacular events with specialty aircraft, badass organizers, and parties paralleling the original Woodstock. Every boogie we attend is an opportunity to have the best skydives of our careers, the most fun of our lives, and maybe even make a “mistake” or two we’ll never regret. Ahh, skydiving.
Ok, so let’s talk about those “mistakes.” And to be clear, I’m talking about those.. ahem.. love connections we make after sunset over the free boogie beer. If we’re lucky (if it’s what we want, I mean), a summer fling might even turn into a committed relationship. Or maybe you meet someone at your home DZ, sparks fly, and boom, boyfriend-girlfriend 2-way on load ten. I mean, skydiving already makes our lives crazy awesome, so add the bliss of finding the right person who also jumps.. well, it’s off the charts.
A tidal wave of euphoric happiness.
As majestic as a tidal wave is in its natural beauty rolling in the ocean, we also know there is always a chance for that sucker to crash on shore causing immense destruction and pain. Yowsah. Not awesome. We all know what happened in Thailand in 2004 and we also know that sometimes that same crash can happen in a relationship. What’s worse is when that crash happens at your favorite place on earth, and I’m not talkin’ Disneyland, I’m talkin’ the DZ. The place we used to go to get away from it all.. the place that used to make us happy, is now riddled with emotional land mines from the crash of whenever you and so-and-so broke up.
I don’t mean to make light of how un-fun it is to break up with someone, or how hard it can be to navigate the post-break-up landscape on the drop zone. I’ve definitely been there myself and it is absolutely, without question, not easy. Ok, fine, it can downright SUCK (all caps).
And that’s why I’m writing this one.
I guess because of my skydiving-and-life-coach status, I get asked about this subject a lot..
Whether we’re the breaker or the breakee, how do we deal with a break-up in skydiving?
Great question, and one I’ve given a great deal of thought to given the number of people who have come to me over time with this struggle. Given no relationship, break-up, or drop zone culture is alike, I had to think wider in order to be able to write something I really believed applied across the board.
I came up with two major things.
First… as we all know, our community is tight. As such, no matter what the situation, you really can’t be an a**hole. Meaning, if you want positive longevity in the sport, aim to deal with ANY situation– break-up, make-up, blow-up, or throw-down– being as awesome as you possibly can. Engage your character. Tap into the values your mother gave you and give people the benefit of the doubt. Take a moment before flipping out and slashing the fabric of your social network in a community so small. Forgive people who f*cked up, be kind to those who hurt you, but no matter what,
Always be the person YOU can be proud of at the end of the day. Because whoever that person is, people will find out.
Whether you’re awesome or an a**hole, everyone’s gonna know. If you’re an a**hole, go for it, be an a**hole. I’m not suggesting be something you’re not. I’m also not suggesting be best buds with whoever broke your heart. I’m suggesting be the best version of yourself despite any situation, because break-ups on the drop zone are hard enough, and it’ll only be harder harboring guilt or self-judgment for doing things that are ultimately against your character.
Anytime we lose a relationship, we can always go back to our first love. Skydiving.
The purity and potency of the joy skydiving brings us, can bring us back from the bottom. It can literally give us the air we need to breathe again. Some people quit skydiving all together after a failed relationship and I think that’s one of the biggest tragedies of our sport. Instead, wipe your tears, exhale what you’re carrying, and reconnect with yourself by doing what we all love. Jumping out of airplanes is our trusted companion and can be the Red Cross cleanup crew for our heart after a tornado touches down.
Beyond that, if we focus our time in skydiving on skydiving, we will be able to weather any storm.
Tidal wave, flash flood, or even just a really long cold snap. With jumping itself as our number one, our relationships can then be this great enriching thing along side our individual skydiving lives. Our relationships can then make our lives better at every interval of togetherness or separation. They can help us learn and grow our wisdom, without stealing our equilibrium. With that, our affair with skydiving will go the distance, and we’ll have a healthy supportive balance in our love lives.
Bottom line, be your best self and do what you love, and you’ll have sunshine 360 days a year. Ahhhh, I’ll take it.