the year of change and risk

[think kit. day one.]

INDIANAPOLIS — In 2012, I switched jobs, moved 900 miles, became an aunt and got married. I didn’t think 2013 would bring greater changes than that, but that’s all this year has been, really.

Matt and I adopted a puppy in March, even though neither of us had a dog growing up. We named him Marvin. May came around and I ran my first half-marathon. That same week, I started a new job, and a few weeks later, I did my first Olympic-distance triathlon. Matt started doing races with me. I added a part-time job in July, and at one point in August, I had three jobs.

Things didn’t slow down, and in September, I went skydiving. Until now, 2013 wasn’t much more to me than the year I turned 24, but I’m amazed at all that has happened.

Everything I have mentioned is, of course, a different story, but the skydiving sums it up pretty well.

skydive
That’s me, falling out of a plane. There’s a few thousand feet between me and that lovely patchwork of farmland. I did not choose to do this. [photo credit to Skydive Indianapolis]
As a kid, I was terrified of roller coasters. I got over it by age 13, for the most part, but I still don’t like rides that drop you straight down. There are rides at Disney World I do not go on.

Skydiving, you may have guessed, was not something I planned to do. Ever. When Matt and I got married last year, our groomsmen went in on a gift together, and from what I’m told, they really wanted it to be memorable. They chose skydiving. We had a year to use the passes, and since we got married in October 2012, we were running out of time this summer. Finally, in August, we scheduled our jump for a Saturday in September.

“All right, we’re doing this,” I said to myself. “We’re jumping out of a plane. It’s happening, and it’ll be good. Or terrible. But I think it’s going to be good. You want this. Go do it.”

I joke that I didn’t have a choice — our friends spent money on this, and I wasn’t going to waste that, but that’s really not true. Of course I had a choice. I chose to get into a tiny plane, strap myself to a stranger and fall out of said plane, hurtling thousands of feet toward the solid Hoosier ground. I seemed scared on the outside, and that’s obvious in the photos and video of the event. Matt and I talked nervously about the jump for days.

But inside? Where all that nervous stuff is supposed to swim around at a nauseating speed? I didn’t feel much of that, and I think it’s because I knew I really wanted to take this risk and walk away with new experiences.

I had been doing such things for months. Adopting Marvin was an adventure, for which we were both prepared and unprepared, but it was a leap we confidently took together, and it has been so worth it. Physically, I have pushed myself farther than I ever have as an athlete, and I have loved watching Matt take on similar challenges. And then there are all those jobs: At first, I took one that, in the end, wasn’t a fit for me. It seemed like the right choice at the time, and I still believe it was, but I ultimately cut that experience short to try some other things. It felt right when I made the decision and feels even better four months later, despite how risky it seemed during the decision-making process, especially to others.

I’m not impulsive. I like to try new things, but I’m not a thrill-seeker. I’m a planner with a procrastination problem, and I certainly didn’t intend for 2013 to be a Year of Big Things. But I look at that picture of me falling through the Indiana sky, and I see so much of the last several months in it. I made a lot of tough decisions to jump into terrifying experiences, and by some sort of happy accident, I’ve been falling through them with excitement and awe. I look back, and I appreciate their unlikely mix of beauty, chaos and balance.

[Think Kit Dec. 1 prompt: Document your year in photos. Did one photo encapsulate your year? Maybe it takes a gallery. And don’t forget to caption, describe, or document what made an image so important. Let’s see those photos!]

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