I always surprise people when I tell them that I skydive on a regular basis.
I often talk to strangers about my son as a way of starting off conversations. I enjoy telling them about all the different countries that he’s been to, as well as the amount of long distance flights that he’s been on. Whenever the conversation eventually winds it’s way back round to me, I’m usually asked the question: ‘And do you fly much?’
This is when I smile to myself and say that, as it so happens, although I rarely leave the country, I sometimes fly as many as 8 times a year. This usually baffles people – so I’m forced to elaborate and reveal probably the single most exciting thing about myself: I’m a 65-year old Mum, full-time receptionist and a self-confessed skydiving addict.
I’ve already discussed how sky diving helped me get over my fear of flying on this blog, but I’ve not elaborated on how that first experience turned into a hobby that truly transformed the way my later life would be shaped.
When my son left home to study at University I was left in the kind of position that many parents will find familiar. I’d made the same mistake that many had made before me – Michael had occupied my thoughts for nearly two decades. His well being, his results at school, the friends he’d made, the girls he was dating, the parties he’d go to, the food he ate. These were the thoughts that would be constantly racing through my mind on a day-to-day basis – all the little variables of his life that would combine to create the man that he was destined to become. I had little or no control over any of these variables, yet I still worried about them relentlessly.
It was only when I dropped him off at his halls of residence for his first year of university that I realised that all that worrying was a fruitless endeavour. But, without the worrying, without the constant thoughts whirring through my head, I realised that I didn’t have much else to think about. Work on Monday, food shopping Sunday, walk the dog, clean the car. All these tasks felt easy to handle without a human being to be responsible for. Suddenly, my life was without challenge – something had to change.
I know it sounds sad, but I can’t be the only parent who’s fallen for this trap. My hobby for the majority of my adult life was raising my child and now that had come to an end, I needed to find a new one.
At a loss for a direction to take, I focused on one of the few worries that lingered in my mind: the fear of flying.
TL;DR My only son left home and forced me to conquer my fear of flying.