The ride to altitude wasn't the torture it was in my earlier jumps, but it wasn't a merry-go-round ride either. A primitive part of my brain still sounded the alarm: "Oh noes! People are falling off this thing! And you're in line to do the same!"
Oddly, standing in the doorway wasn't as scary is it used to be. The exit was another story.
I feel like Alice in Wonderland when she tumbles down the rabbit hole.
Experienced jumpers tell me this part eventually becomes great fun. Will this ever be the case for me? When?
It still takes me about ten or fifteen seconds to quit flopping around and get stable. I suspect the comparative lack of air resistance might have something to do with it, plus the fact that I'm not relaxed as I should be.
Then I was stable. Hooray!
I tried to breathe deep and slow as I kept my eye on the view and the altimeter. See? I told myself. You can do this. Soon it was time to open the parachute.
I'm surprised (and a bit disappointed) that I'm still super frazzled after the parachute deploys. What's wrong with you? I thought, Why are you so rattled? You're a big baby!
Big baby or not, I was getting better at controlling the canopy. I practiced my flares at different speeds and kept nagging myself to fly safely: Look at the windsock! Where's it pointing? Look for the other jumpers. See anyone? What are they doing? Hey! Look before you make those turns!
Then came landing time. One of my instructors once suggested the best time to flare is a second or two after you think it's time to flare. I'm in no position to recommend this for everyone*, but it seems to work for me.
And what was this...?
Maybe next time!
*for flakes, sake, I'm just a student.