By: Faith Pearce
(6 min read)
Wow, I have had a lot on my mind recently, and many things are happening in the background. What Keeps coming to me is a song.
“What you waiting,
what you waiting,
what you waiting,
what you waiting for?”
I have discussed procrastion a lot lately, and there are so many reasons it happens. I think, what am I waiting for? If I am not actively moving forward am I avoiding change? Am I avoiding making myself a priority? It’s never easy to take ownership and responsibility for my life, to be 100% fully accountable where the buck stops with you.
Some mornings when I wake up and the bed is warm and comfortable, I just want five more minutes; to press that snooze button one more time. Then other times, if I had a curry the night before, then OMG, my system says, “Damn girl, go go go NOW.” Which is better? To be passive in decisions and actively pushed by internal or external discomforts. Or maybe the third to say I am going to make a decision. Sure, if you’ve got something pushing you it’s easier, even if it’s the most uncomfortable thing ever. Where do I get stuck?
Throughout my life, there are things I have really wanted to do, but there is still the element of fear when doing something new, which is completely normal. When I completed my very first parachute jump, I needed a little bit more support before I could jump. You might think, well, of course, you did, are you mad? You were jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
I’ve always enjoyed new things and pushing myself, so I did it. For my 16th birthday, we got to choose whatever we wanted, which may not seem like a big thing, but we didn’t have a lot of money and generally, we knew not to expect much.
So to have the freedom of choice and to pick anything was huge. My older brother, middle brother I should say, chose a brand new guitar.
He originally was going to do a parachute jump but changed his mind. I heard that nobody else in the family had ever done this, and I knew straight away that was what I wanted to do. First of all, it was something completely unique, and secondly, I needed to prove to myself I could do it.
The first day I could jump was the actual day of my birthday because you have to be 16 years old. There I was at RAF Oxford in a jumpsuit, training how to jump out of a plane. Following two full days of training, we were waiting for the cloud cover to disperse so we could get the all clear we could jump from 3500ft. Unfortunately, it was overcast, and the visibility wasn’t good enough for us to jump. I was so disappointed we had to come back again the following weekend. When we returned the weather was great, and we got all strapped up and clambered on board this tiny aircraft.
There were eight of us jumping in total, and I was the very last one to go.
To say I was petrified was an understatement, I saw everyone else’s eyes as we took off and climbed higher and higher as each person exited the aircraft—fear, excitement, adrenaline. Terror as one by one, it came round to my turn to go. By this point, I had completely lost all sense of any logical thinking. As I got to the doors and looked down, I remember the fields looking like patchwork quilts, my stomach went into my mouth and the blood drained from my face. I was consumed by my thoughts, “Oh my God, what the hell am I doing?” The instructor was great and just calmly talked to me about who I had on the ground and why I was there. After a couple of minutes, I was able to refocus. I couldn’t let them or myself down. I had done so much work to get there. I was ready.
As I had missed the exit point where the landing strip was, we had to fly around for a second attempt, But the next time when he said, “GO.” I was ready. The training I had done the week before kicked in, and out I went. “One thousand, two thousand, check canopy…” After checking my canopy, I remember the three and half minutes of gliding down to the earth and how peaceful everything was. As I touched down, I felt amazing. I did it!
It’s okay sometimes to have a wobble or a moment when you’re unsure. Emotions sometimes have a way of clouding our thoughts and are part of being human. Sometimes I need a little bit of time or to sit in a moment, as long as I don’t stay there forever.
Nearly 25 years later, I am up for round two. And you may be wondering, “Round two?” As I said, I always like to try new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. It has been on my wish list for a long time to experience the freefall from 10,000 feet. My parachute jump was a thrill, but I knew I wanted to experience the freefall element for longer than three seconds. So last year, when an ad popped up on Facebook, I booked it. It was also a great opportunity to raise funds and awareness for Rethink Mental Illness. They are an amazing charity that provides support not only for those who suffer from mental illness but also for their families. They provide support groups and education.
I have also suffered from mental health in the past and watched others in my family overcome mental illnesses. It’s always been a mission of mine to champion and raises awareness. To say it’s okay not to be okay. Even when an illness cannot always be physically seen, it doesn’t make it any less valid. Mental health is something one in three people will suffer from at some point in their life. It is time to normalize the discussions. I think the more awareness and education we can share, the better. It’s okay to be depressed. It’s okay to ask for support. For too long, it has been a very taboo subject, and it’s time to lift the lid on this. With the world’s stresses over the past three years, have we not learned we need to work together? With the effects on people from isolation and the increase in suicide rates, we need to take it more seriously. I also wanted to use this to show you can achieve your goals.
After a few wobbles and five or six attempts of rescheduling my jump, it is really happening in three weeks’ time on the 24th of September. I will be finally doing my skydive. For me, it has been reminding myself this is just part of my process and giving myself the grace to say okay, I needed more time to process this event. I reminded myself why I initially wanted to do it and the people I have around me.
I’m not only jumping for myself, but I am jumping for everyone else out there who needs support. When you need support to fulfill a dream and if you need support to face a mental health issue. If you’ve ever doubted that you can’t do something, I’m gonna show you now you can. I am jumping for myself and everyone out there who’s ever had a mental illness and has been scared to talk about it or share it with others.
Times can be dark, but life can improve. If I just keep taking small baby steps forward and pause when I need to, staying in one place for a little while when things feel a bit overwhelming, I am able to remember why I want to do things and who I have around me for support.
I would love it if you supported the charity and me from the link below. All funds are sent directly to Rethink Mental Illness. Let me know what is holding you back from a dream you have had. I know you can do it. I will probably ask you, “What are you waiting for?”
All Things Wellness, LLC
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