For a couple years now, I’ve been planning on skydiving for my 50th birthday. Here’s why: I want to go skydiving, but I’m too chicken to do it any time soon. (Also, I figured, this gives me something to look forward to. Most people dread turning 50; for me, it’d be an adventure.)
Well, I just read about Claudette Porter. One of the saddest stories I’ve heard in a long time. Porter went skydiving for her 75th birthday. Her tandem instructor was one of the flying Elvi from Honeymoon in Vegas. And their chutes didn’t open. Not the main one. Not the backup, either.
This throws a monkey wrench into my plan. I always knew skydiving could be dangerous—about 1 in 140,000 jumps end in death—but I justified the danger with, Well, I’ll only do it once—so what are the odds that my ONE time will go sour?
For all I know, Porter had the exact same reasoning.
Sure, lots of people go skydiving for the first time, for their birthday, every day. And almost all of them walk away unharmed and ecstatic. But all it takes is one story like this to give me pause. I think it’s the fact that it happened in Vegas and the fact that she did it on her birthday that personalized it for me.
So now I’m leaning towards no. I wonder how I’ll feel 10 years from now, when I hit 40.