I look stupid a lot. I’ve gotten used to it, I’ve realized that I’ll never be cool. I’ve come to grips with that reality and I’m okay with it. After all, it’s really hard to look cool when I’m:
So I’ve accepted it and moved on. In fact, I’ve been sure that there are lots of other things that I can look stupid doing. Even doing stuff that sounds as cool as skydiving, I can probably find a way to look stupid. Even skydiving you might ask? Especially skydiving.
At the WDS Skydive adventure a few weeks back, I was in the very last group to jump. Somehow I got paired up with Steve Kamb. Both Steve and I have a similar type of yes policy, where I try to say yes to opportunites when they’re presented because you never know when you’ll get another shot at them. So, needless to say, when they asked if anyone wanted to go up to 18,000 feet, we jumped at the chance.
Unfortunately, nobody on the plane but me and Steve knew that we were going all the way to 18,000 feet until we were on the plane, including our jump instructors. Maybe it was the fatigue of already having 40 people jump, but when you realize that your tandem instructor didn’t know what altitude you were going to jump from until the last minute, you have a momentary panick attack. Thankfully, all of our jumpers had been jumping forever, so it wasn’t too big of an adjustment for them.
At 13,000 feet, we dropped a bunch of people off (literally) and kept on climbing. At that elevation we had to strap on oxygen masks so we could breathe and not pass out from the thinner air.
There is not a weirder feeling I’ve ever experienced than watching someone fall out of a moving plane. One second they’re in the plane, and the next they’re out of sight. Gone.
As much as I wanted to kick Steve out of the airplane, I was having a video shot, so I had to go first. We scooted to the edge of the plane, stuck our feet over the edge, yelled PARKOUR and we dropped.
Skydiving is unique because unlike other times when you fall, you don’t feel your stomach drop. You’re so high up and you fall so fast while skydiving that you don’t realize you’re falling and you don’t get the same feeling in your stomach that you do when you’re dropping on a roller coaster or when you’re bungee jumping.
So we’re falling and it feels like I’ve stuck my head out of a car moving 150mph. All of a sudden, I feel my goggles slipping. They start working their way up my face, and the next thing I know, they’re flying off my head. I’d explain more, but the photos describe it much better than I could ever hope to with just words.
So my goggles are off, and I’m looking at the camera trying to look cool and enjoy the fall down, but it’s really really hard to make your face look normal when you’re falling so fast and the wind is doing it’s best to distort every expression you make. So don’t try to make faces, because the wind will only make you look stupid.
My tandem instructor tried to put my goggles back on my face but he couldn’t actually see where my face was, so he was just holding them on the section of my face where my forehead meets my eyebrows meets my eye socket.
So we finally got the goggles back on my face, but never were able to actually tighten them up, so for the rest of my free fall, I split my time between trying to make sure I got a good shot for the camera and trying to fight my goggles so that they would stay on. The goggles are back on my face, but never actually tightened up so for the rest of my free fall I’m splitting time between trying to make sure I get a good shot for the camera and not trying to fight my goggles to stay on. Neither of them really happened.
So while everyone else has sweet photos of them skydiving, I get to look like an idiot.
And…I’m okay with that…
Anytime you try to do something impossible, you’re going to look a little stupid.
One of my good friends has a dream to buy a boat and sail around the world for a few years. After taking into account his current situation, he realized his current path wasn’t on track to let him do that. So, he sat down with his wife and together they’ve been selling a lot of their stuff and moving into an apartment where they’re going to live and save up for the boat over the next few years while working on their fledging business.
Half of their friends think they’re nuts. The other half think they’re awesome. I think they’re awesome. But, to a lot of people, it seems stupid. Trying to sell a house in a down economy and trying to live on a boat seems ridiculous when there’s all sorts of nice land to live on where you don’t have to worry about little things like drowning. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter what other people think because everyone gets to live only one life, their own.
Whether or not they think it’s stupid is their deal. If they don’t want to do something, they don’t have to, but it shouldn’t affect how you go about your life. If someone wants to think something is stupid, let them go ahead and think it’s stupid. Then go do it if it’s something you want to do.
Occasionally, they’ll bring up valid fears or concerns, but most often, the people who say how stupid things are, often don’t have interesting alternatives to your stupid ideas. Most will simply give you the textbook “safe” answers if you ask them what they want to do. And, there’s nothing wrong with those answers, if it’s truly what they want to do. But, if they’re just bouncing answers back towards you…that’s another issue.
Big risks reap big rewards.
Not being afraid to sell your stuff and buy a boat , if that’s what you really want to do, might seem stupid to some people. But, if you actually do it, you get to sail around the world and wake up in a different place everyday with a million dollar view. Not too shabby. I can vouch personally, that not being afraid to look stupid, even if it means you’ll fail spectacularly sometimes, lets you do a whole heap of things that you once swore were impossible.
It’s your life. Feel free to look stupid. You just might have some fun or do something impossible.
In the spirit of things, you can browse the full gallery of me looking stupid while plummeting to my death on flickr. Also, enjoy the video (me looking stupid, put to music)