Irrational Fear Versus Gut Instinct
Is that an irrational fear talking that can be controlled and ignored? Or a gut instinct that I should be listening to?
Sometimes you don’t feel like jumping. It happens. Friends give up the sport. They can’t put a finger on it. But they do, they forget the happiness. They forget the adrenaline. They forget the high fives on the landing area with laughing smiling people.
I felt like this earlier today.
I was at the DZ. I’d been planning this jump for weeks. Actually, years since I first had the idea. I wanted this jump. The forecast wasn’t great, moderate cloud and strong gusts of wind forecast. But there was a window. I estimated that the first lift would go, perhaps a second.
After coaching in the windtunnel the night before I went to sleep at 0130. I woke up at 0600 to travel to the DZ. I wanted this jump.
When I got there, I wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t really explain why. I tried to convince myself that I did want it. I tried to convince myself I wasn’t tired. Or that the tiredness was fine and that I’d do one jump and then sleep for a bit.
My jump buddy rang in. You could tell he wasn’t so keen on leaving home to make this jump. You can’t blame him. The forecast was rough. We ummed. We urred. We dithered.
The sky was grey with blue patches when I arrived at the DZ. It wouldn’t be perfect but having clouds in the background make the best pictures. It could be a blessing.
We decided that if he came to the DZ, we wouldn’t jump. And if he stayed in bed, he’d jinx it in a good way and I’d at least get to jump.
And jumping is fun, right? Why was I having to persuade myself this? Is this fear? Am I losing my mojo? What is going on here? How do I explain this? I fought with myself. I wasn’t feeling it but here I am, an instructor on my home DZ. I should be jumping.
OK, I only jumped last week and in a fortnight I’ll be in sunny California with more jumps to do than I can handle.
But I’ve been meaning to do a couple of solo jumps. I want to jump a student kit. How can I teach people to jump student kit when I haven’t jumped student kit in such a long time. It’ll make me a better instructor to know how to do this.
Or I wanted to do a solo freefly jump. I’m working towards my FF1 and I wanted to do a practice jump. I couldn’t nail backwards movement in a head up orientation (sit fly) last time. I reckon I could do it now.
There were loads of things I could do in the sky. But still I didn’t feel it.
Lift one went on a 20 minute call. I declined to put my name down. I decided to trust my gut. But my inner voice told me I was chickening out. Loser.
Lift one went on a 10 minute call. Not for me thanks. Too cloudy. Too windy. Within limits but nah, not for me.
The plane took off and I was jealous.
Then, at 1500 feet. The wind picked up and a huge gust came through. Ground control radioed the plane to abort. And everyone came down without jumping.
You can’t let fear win. But sometimes you have to listen to your gut instinct. Better to be on the ground wishing you were in the sky than in the sky wishing you were on the ground.
Ten minutes later, it was windier still and now it was raining. Not getting on the plane was the right decision.
I’m heading to California in early March for a fortnight of jumping. In the sun. Teaching. It sounds like heaven. Much better than February on a rainy little island.
I can’t wait.