I’ve always had this intense fear of falling, not even heights, just falling. I’d always hated activities like rock climbing; when I was younger I even used to be terrified of monkey bars for the longest time. I’m not sure why; maybe something inside of me is mortified of what it may feel like to splat onto the ground. For some strange reason though, I’d always wanted to try bungee jumping.
I had the opportunity presented to me when I attended my college’s “Spring Fling” fair. There was a bungee jumping both where you could sign a waiver, get tied up to some chords and be taken up into the air in a basket via some lighted crane type thing. A couple of friends came up to the booth with me as moral support. I asked the person working the booth what my chances of dying were and she said, “It’s safer than driving a car.” No further questions asked, “Alright, I’ll do it.”
I felt my hand starting to shake as I signed the waiver saying I understood I could get hurt and this that and whatever else. There were a few people in line ahead of me – two of which ended up going up in the crane, finding themselves unable to jump out, and returning back to the ground. As I was waiting for my turn, my entire body was involuntarily trembling. At one point while I was waiting in line I had to walk a few feet and my right knee completely locked for a couple seconds. That didn’t stop me though, I was going to do this one way or another. If I had a heart attack, oh well.
Once it was my turn to get into the crane basket, as we started going up higher and higher, I struck up a conversation with the worker. I asked him if he’d ever gone bungee jumping before and he said he had a few times. I then asked if he’d ever seen anyone get hurt while working there. He told me that in the five years of working there he’s yet to see any accidents.
We were at the top of the crane and it was time for me to jump out. Oy vey.
“So… do I jump out now?”
“Is there a certain way I should do it or a particular way to hold my arms or something?”
“Some people actually try jumping; however, considering the angle and momentum, the best way is to either just learn forward or backward and just fall.”
Wide eyed and smiling with fear, “Ok!”
“On the count of three just go.”
“Ok so, am I counting or are you?”
“I’ll count. If you don’t go I’ll push you,” he joked.
He counted to three and I fell forward with my eyes closed for the first second. Once I opened my eyes and saw all of the flashing lights and people looking up at me, it gave me this weird euphoric feeling. I’d never been so calm but also on edge at the same time. Once the initial vertical momentum was gone, and I was just swinging back and forth, I let my arms down and in that moment it was like I was in my own world.
As soon as I had my feet back on the ground, “Yeah, I’m definitely going to do that again someday. I wonder where I can go skydiving…”
Since then, my fear of falling has decreased; I’ve realized that I have more control in situations than I’d thought. Although there may be very slight risk, the rush and the experience is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. You know how some people say that when you die your life flashes in front of you? If that’s true, the memory of falling in front of all of the beautiful bright lights will definitely be in my thought reel.