it's not a mid life crisis... I'm just finally getting around to some things I meant to do
The big relevation I had from jumping out of a plane was that I am, indeed too hard on myself.
And yet, I would still assert: perhaps I am not too hard on myself — perhaps everyone else is too easy on themselves.
Many friends have said I'm too self-critical. I still don't know if I believe it though. I think it's truer that I'm just generally a pretty critical person. Harsh of everyone. Somehow I can maintain a balance of thinking the worst of people and the best of people simultaneously.
I realise I should delight in my parachuting accomplishment - jumping out of a plane on cue. However, I'm still critical of forgetting what I was supposed to do: arch, count.
Yes, I knew precisely how to address a minor malfunction ... indeed, a minor parachute malfunction at 3,500 feet and I kept my wits about me! I should be very proud. But had I arched I likely would not have had line twists.
And in case I'd forgotten, they talked me through it on the radio anyway.
As I fought the wind for position in the doorway, I had actually accepted "Yep... this is it. If I'm gonna die jumping out of a plane, so be it."
It wasn't to be death by parachute malfunction, and in some small way I'm a little surprised.
There's a lot of "shoulds" in my small-minded hypocritical little world. I should have accomplished more by now. Yet I also think I expected to be dead by now. Perhaps if I'd taken more risks I would be more accomplished, yet less breathing.
Caution has been my sherpa. Caution with my body, my money, my career. I'm pretty darn self-protective. It's served me adequately. I've stayed reasonably alive, but have surely sacrificed some highs and lows.
Without this cautious approach to life, I'm sure I would be disease-riddled, lame, destitute, and unemployed (or possibly self-employed in the sex trade).
However, there are trade offs.
Those I know who have lived life less cautiously may have been incarcerated, hospitalized, fired multiple times and penniless. But they have better travel pictures.
My hypercritical estimation of those who are less cautious, who aren't following the shoulds, who aren't flossing or buckling up or saving for retirement: they're making the world a worse place for all of us.
No, I don't floss regularly. And yes, I feel guilty because it makes a world a worse place. Because don't floss, I end up getting more cavities, so I miss work, cost the company benefits plan more... rates go up for everyone. I drive more to the dentist, resulting in more pollution. All because I wasn't willing to take a moment for oral hygene.
This kind of flagrant disregard for the rules is making everyone's life harder... including my own. It's causing heartache and pain for those of us who are cautious.
I'd love to grab everyone in the world and give them one big shake and say "What the hell are you thinking? Can't you signal your turns? Can't you wash out your containers for recycling?"
And I'm sure the world would like to give me a shake and say "It's not the end of the world if you press the wrong button in the elevator"