Monday, September 9, 2013

My Coolest Freedom Opportunity Yet

This past Saturday (9/7/13) I experienced my latest Freedom Opportunity – SKYDIVIIIING!!!  It was amazing, incredible, super fun and I want to do it again!!  I went with friends Lizzy and Marcia and had a blast!  We used the company Skydive Georgia up near Cedartown.  When the reservations were made, we were told to arrive at 7:30a, which means we all had to get up at 5a to leave at 6a.  What an early start to the day, but I had little trouble waking up!  ;-)
So we arrived a little early and had expected to wait 2-4 hours before our time to board the plane.  Lo and behold, we were harnessed up about 8:30a and somewhere a little after 9a, it was time to board the plane!  Lizzy, Marcia and I were jumping tandem, and the professional skydiver assigned to me was Johan; he was really cool, nice and reassuring.  Thankfully he had several thousand jumps under his belt; also he had skydived in several countries, including Africa - landing near a herd of elephants!  L, M and I bought a video package in which we also had another person assigned to us to video our jump and do mini before and after interviews; with this we also got still photos.  My videographer was Sarah and she was cool too.

The people running the company were really good and let the three of us be apart of the same group of jumpers.  When you buy the tickets, your automatic jump height is just over 10,000 feet; but when the weather is cooperative and nice, you can opt to go to 14,000 feet – 2.67 miles!!  The weather was perfect that day.  We all decided to go big or go home; so we went the 14,000 feet!  This gave us nearly a minute of freefall time before the parachute opened for a ride down of about 5-7 minutes. 
On the ride up to altitude, I was calm – really looking forward to it.  When it was my time to dive, I did have a brief moment of nervousness, but thankfully I did not have any feeling of wanting to turn back.  I knew it would be thrilling.  So with wonderful Johan doing all the work, we JUMPED!  Man, the wind hitting my face at 120 miles an hour was incredibly hard, and I just had to remind myself to breathe during the first 10-15 seconds.  My brain wanted to stop working during freefall.  When Johan pulled the cords for the parachute to open, it was violent and unexpected jerk.  The time when we were soaring was phenomenal!!  Everything on the ground was so small.  While coming down, Johan asked if I wanted to do some spins, and I said as long as they were gentle.  We did several turns and it was magnificent!  Definitely one of the coolest things I have ever done.  One thing I was worried about was the landing and as it turned out, I did not have to worry at all.  Johan did a fantastic job of making the landing gentle and easy.  Wow what a rush that all was!!  I have to experience tandem skydiving at least one more time.  J  The first time was such a sensory overload for me, I feel that I was unable to fully appreciate the sheer awesomeness of what I did.  Such euphoria!!   

Here are pics from me and the videographer (warning there are many pics!)

                                                             Marcia, Lizzy and me.  Ready to go!!

Almost time...............

                                                               And here we goooo........................

                                                                  What a rush and a thrill!!!!

                                                  Parachute time!  My absolute favorite part!!!

                                                          Coming in for the landing.....

Safely on the ground!!!
Afterwards with our heads still spinning about what we had just done

                                                          Awesome Johan - my tandem diver

An appropriate quote
Side note - there was a bumper sticker in the waiting area that said
'Skydive because your mama told you not to.'   Hahaha!  ;-)

Landing zone

                                                                             Pics in waiting area

Repacking the parachutes

Friday, September 6, 2013

How Do You Define Personal Freedom?

If any of you recall, in June, hubby, friends and I went to the Turks and Caicos for a fabulous vacation, and on our last day there I learned how to snorkel.  I was immensely terrified of doing it, but had so much nervous excitement, I took the plunge and loved it.  As I said in that post, snorkeling opened up a new world to me because it gave me a new sense of freedom.

After learning of this ‘new sense of freedom,’ two of my friends became inspired by this.  So now among our friends, we look for Freedom Opportunities.   Because of this, my brilliant friend Brittany decided that Freedom Opportunity needed to be defined.  So she, lovely friend Lizzy and I had a long discussion about what the definition of a Freedom Opportunity should be; I will admit that most of the discussing occurred between them.  I really only came in and added maybe 1 cent worth of opinion.  We knew we did not want the definition to have a negative vibe or be too vague and superficial.  So among the three of us, we settled on what we all feel and believe is a great definition that gives true attention to developing oneself and has some real depth to it.  *The definition will be at the end of this post.* 

There are many and various opportunities to experience a Freedom Opportunity. Here are some things my friends have done recently. 

Earlier this summer Brittany and Lizzy went to visit a friend in Chicago and while there they all attended Chicago’s Gay Pride parade.  Brittany said the feeling in the atmosphere was that of love and acceptance and that her heart overflowed with happiness for her fellow human beings.  During Gay Pride Brittany posted an assortment of pictures and opinions on Facebook supporting the LGBT community all the while knowing there would be much backlash from friends and family members with more traditional family values.  This potential backlash did not cause her to shy away from firmly stating her beliefs.  Brittany’s Freedom Opportunity came in the form attending a parade where she could show her unbiased love and full acceptance for all people and their respective lifestyles, her continued support of the LGBT community and ultimately, her proudly and resolutely standing up for her beliefs at the risk of angering others. 

The day that we defined Freedom Opportunity was the day Lizzy decided pursue some personal growth in the form of learning another language.  She recognized that there may be times and situations in her life now, and most likely in the future as well, where knowing another language could be of immense help in dealing with some people in various situations.  Being limited to one language is just being limited.  Knowing another language opens up the door to understand different cultures and values, and could make a person feel empowered and confident.

Marvelous friend Megan and her husband learned how to mechanic their hybrid car a little bit.  The main battery in the car died, and they thought of taking it to an actual mechanic, but with mechanic and parts prices these days, well that estimate was certainly unreasonable.  So Megan and her husband decided to learn how to fix the problem themselves – so bring on Google for a search in how to recharge the hybrid car batteries.  After finding a particularly helpful instruction book, they set about recharging the battery.  Megan explained the process to me, but as my memory for how mechanical technicalities work is not so good, I am not going to attempt to explain it here.  But the point is they did not let this difficulty stump them, and they overcame a challenge.  Learning more about your car, its various parts and how to make it run properly is a remarkably helpful skill set to have, and now Megan and her husband have had a Freedom Opportunity. 

I am going to have an astonishing Freedom Opportunity tomorrow (Sept 7th), but I do not want to write about it here or even barely mention what I will be doing.  Suffice it to say, it will be so magnificent that it will deserve its own post!

Something to keep in mind about a Freedom Opportunity    Do not be a false opportunist.  Brittany was talking with a friend who thought a Freedom Opportunity could justify him smoking occasionally when not drinking.  No; thoughts similar to this and their subsequent actions are not the point of a Freedom Opportunity.  Freedom Opportunities are for you to being open to experiences and adventures which will make you a better you.  Freedom Opportunities are supposed to be good for the soul, make you a better, stronger, happier you. 

Don't just stand there - go chase your dreams, change careers or companies, move to a new city/state/country, start a business that you are passionate about, join or establish a club, try your hand at learning to play an instrument, stand up for your beliefs, take college courses that do not result in a degree, learn home and car repairs or anything else that will make you joyful, empowered and/or enlightened.  Do not not try things out of fear or idleness or difficulty, as we all have one ride on this merry-go-round of life.  Have fun, challenge yourself and be empowered and encouraged!

And now for the definition for a Freedom Opportunity as I am sure you are twitching in your seats for it -

 A freedom opportunity encourages one to conquer fears, overcome stagnancy, rise above challenges, pursue personal growth, and lets one delight in a whole new world.

Thank you Lizzy and Brittany for deciding that seeking Freedom Opportunities needed to be a trend/movement. Thank you Megan for believing this needed to be posted.

*Look for Freedom Opportunities*

 Pun for this post – Where do cars swim?

In a car pool!  J