Your breath comes in short bursts and your panic switch gets turned on. But then... then everything goes blank. You just calmly look out the door, lean forward-back-forward, and fall to the earth. Oddly enough, the exact moment you hurtle out the plane door is when your previously checked-out mind decides to return in full force. And guess what? It's awesome. Epic. Monumental. You're not falling- you're flying! You are literally flying through the air.
The roar of the wind rushing by you is deafening. Any communication- if it exists- is by instinct and hand signals. By the way, they don't even bother teaching you hand signals on your first jump because you're too sky-tarded (just made that word up) to remember your own name, let alone what a hand shaped into a circle in front of your face means (check your altimeter, fyi).
So I jumped again Friday. No fear this time (fine, some) just excitement. And the ability to fully "be there" and enjoy what's going on. This time I checked my altimeter several times, did all the procedures correctly, and even remembered to look up at the horizon while spinning around in my 'chute. Which, by the way, is one of the coolest parts. Roar, falling, roar, loud, noise; then... poof. Silence. You're floating at 5,000 feet in complete peace.
I'm going to go ahead and recommend that all of you skydive. Especially YOU- the one who says it's too scary and a crazy idea. You owe it to yourself.
And guess what? After your second jump you can enter the AFP program to get licensed, and your third jump is solo. Yup, solo. Granted, an instructor jumps with you and holds on the whole time, but still. Solo.
I think I'm going to try it. Maybe next spring when it warms up (and I save some money?).
PS I went 39-7 on a Halo: Reach match. I'm that awesome.