This is why I took a break from skydiving. And this is why I’m back.
This is actually one of my favorite columns I’ve ever written. Encapsulates some pretty big sh*t and ends up hilarious. You know… life.
It will publish in next month’s mag, but because people have been genuinely asking with earnest care and curiosity about why I took a break and how I found my way back to skydiving, I wanted to share with you all now.
As always, I hope you get something great for yourself from any part of my sharing. F*ck yeah, team.
Thank you as always for spending your valuable time and energy reading and supporting my stuff. My gratitude is very very real.
With you. Love you.
Blue Skies Magazine, October 2016
Life Coaching Column #75
“We were on a break”
By Melanie Curtis
Life is so cool. It’s some crazy sh*t, and I love that.
Even though the unpredictable nature of life can be scary sometimes, that is also where the most epic experiences and feelings are found too.
We all have struggles. So totally normal. I think what many of us forget inside the lower times is that those low times are always juxtaposed by high times and happiness in equal measure IF we make the effort to evolve and grow.
Every f*cking time.
That said, sometimes the low time takes a long time. So it also makes sense that when the feelings are upon us, it would be difficult to remember that joy and freedom greater than we’ve experienced to date is on the other side.
I took a two-year break from skydiving and recently got back in the air. I took that break because of my own personal and professional challenges… feeling super burned out from working in skydiving, going through a painful divorce, and feeling increasing fear from losing loved ones.
All that together was too much. I needed a break. I needed to really take time down to heal and recover on all of these fronts.
And I’m so glad I did.
I’m so glad I gave that to myself.
My decision to take a break was a very conscious one. I definitely didn’t want to disappoint anyone and was afraid of how I would fare in life without the successful identity and approach of “Melanie Curtis, skydiver.”
I’ll admit I really didn’t know how to be that person.
The “Melanie Curtis” who didn’t jump. Who the hell was that? No idea. And I did lots of crazy, straight-up comical, things trying to figure it out.
I did a 5-month world tour. I moved to Vermont (this is a lovely state in the United States that has a population of 12). I ran a marathon. I bought a rifle. I wore only really preppy clothes for really long time as a social experiment on myself. Hahahaha, no seriously, I really did that. Turns out I like ripped jeans, and I like stripes, but think collared shirts (on me) are so not sexy. Aka collared shirts and I are done.
Yeah, I’m kind of intense, I get it.
I also worked through my confusion and pain with my closest people. I hired a therapist and did that deep work too, both through crisis and family of origin. I embraced my love of art, New York, comedy, coaching, and fostered new non-skydiving friendships. I may not have known who I was without the skydiving piece of my identity, but I was committed to exploring who that person might be.
As a result… I learned SO MUCH. About life. About options. About who I was and could be. And I actually became and embraced that new person.
Even though my decision to separate from skydiving was motivated by emotion, upset, and lack of clarity in life at large at the time… I’m so glad I experienced that separation. Because now, in coming back to the sport, I know that I can live without it. I come back to it free and connected to the pure love that brought me to it in the first place.
Just like any relationship, our relationship with skydiving is ours to decide.
Just like people, it can come into our lives for a reason, season, or lifetime.
I have no desire to make skydiving the intense and sole focus of my life like I once did. If I learned anything from taking a break it’s that we don’t have to do anything the way we did it before. Even yesterday. This is where the unpredictable nature of life sets us free… allows us to see how free we are in every moment. How free we are to always choose what’s right for us at any point.
My first jump back is the perfect example of this. I wanted to do a hop-n-pop with my people. Period. My people were 100% cool with that, duh. They supported me wholly and completely… exactly what I wanted and needed to jump again. And they judged me zero for the weirdo way I wanted to do it. Logan literally held my hand on the way to 5000 feet.
F*cking perfect. If that isn’t skydiving, I don’t know what is. Embracing each other for exactly who we are, and exactly where we are in life and the sport. In it, out of it, doing a hop-n-pop, or hanging on the ground.
Like Ross and Rachel on Friends, skydiving and I were on a break. I may or may not have spent some time with golf, guns, and pretty f*cking intense personal growth.
Hahahaha… hot. No babies out of wedlock that I know of, but skydiving and I are still better for it.
Next chapter, here we go… Tizzle 2.0, onward!
My first jump back….