Tuesday, August 07, 2012

excuses vs. reasons

Recently, I found out that my little brother is going skydiving. Reaction? That's so cool! Have fun! I'm jealous! Don't tell mom till you've reached post-skydiving safety and can tell her that there's not a smidgen of anything to worry about.

I'm jealous that he's going skydiving, and I've always wanted to go. So what the heck has stopped me?

It's not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a pretty insane life experience and I completely believe that if the money is there skydiving is worth it. So that's not it.

What I'm trying to figure out now is am I holding myself back out of fear, or practicality? The single biggest reason I've never been skydiving is that I'm a terrible flyer. I get airsick, although I can live with that. My bigger concern is my ears, or more correctly the scar tissue within my ears that makes them act up. My ears don't pop. Every time I take off or land I end up in some pretty intense pain from the pressure increase in my ears, and it doesn't let up for days. No amount of gum chewing, swallowing, hiccups, holding my nose and blowing or anything that has ever been suggested has ever worked to help me with this. Come landing I am in agony, and often tears. Sometimes I get off a plane and can't hear properly for about three days. Often just getting on a plane is enough to give me a nasty ear infection. This is true even on small planes (I have uncles who are pilots, so this has been tested out on family planes in the past).

That being the case I almost feel like skydiving would be torturing myself: I'd want to enjoy this amazing experience, but be in too much pain to do so. I think skydiving would be thirty amazing seconds, but I don't know if they would be amazing enough to offset the amount of pain I would be in. It doesn't seem like a desire that's in line with my body's current physical limitations, and this is a limitation that I don't think I have the power to change.

But I really want to go skydiving. As a general rule I try not to let physical pain stop me from doing something that I'm really, really excited for. What I'm trying to weigh right now is this: are my non-popping ears an actual, justifiable reason not to try skydiving? or am I just using them as an excuse not to go skydiving because it's also just a little bit terrifying?

I could use some opinions, here. To skydive or not to skydive?


  1. I'm not sure if your reason is just an excuse. But as someone who had a physically torturous time sky diving I must say: DO IT!! :)

    I suffer from terrible motion sickness, and while the dizziness only lasts an hour or so (as opposed to days, like your ear-popping symptoms do), it's pretty torturous. Like a fool, I decided to wear my little acupressure wristbands during the jump instead of taking Dramamine. Bad idea -- I was nauseous during the fall and for the rest of the day, and it was by far the worst case of motion sickness I've ever had. Was it worth it? Yes! Would I do it again? Probably not. But I'm happy to have scratched an item off my bucket list. Plus, it was a great metaphor for the other things that were scaring me at the time. Namely, marriage. See my APW post on cold feet here: http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/07/wedding-undergraduate-brave-bride-cold-feet/

    That said, you're free to toss my 2 cents out the window-- after all, you're the one who might have to endure days of physical torture, not me. Only you can decide if the pain is worth it. Keep us posted!

    1. Thanks for the insight! I'm leaning towards feeling like it's something that I should do for myself at least once, bad flying symptoms be damned. I think I just need to get over a bit of The Fear first.

      I've read your APW post there a few times, and it's a great one. You're always so good at teasing out the metaphors and hidden meanings in things.