It was 30 years ago, 1984, and Van Halen’s title song could be heard ’round the nation. “Jump. Just go ahead and jump!”
The photo above is in Auckland, and that’s Deb in midair…..
Ten months ago, when I boarded Air New Zealand’s 747 bound for Auckland I knew about the Kiwi tradition of bungy jumping. And I wanted no part of it. My brain was (seemingly) in control. I had 3 kids to put through school, a parent and grandparent to watch over…..so, so much responsibility. For the first three months I was here by myself, and I lead a safe, pursuit of trout oriented life. Then my family arrived, and we started vacationing for real. We rode in helicopters, sea planes……so it was naturally bound to happen we would find ourselves near a bridge, or a canyon, thinking about taking a jump.
About three months ago we were in Queenstown, and the boys and I took our first leaps (I blogged about it then..). We returned to Queenstown a month or so ago….bound (bad pun) and determined to do more jumping. You might say we jumped at the chance to do it again (worse pun). Even Deb jumped (but don’t tell her doctor that).
What changed my mind? Why the change of heart, from conservative forward thinking doctor, to an adrenaline junkie? (Alright, maybe nothing that dramatic…)
Why the confident smiles (or even goofy faces…if you’re Matt) as we stand on the Kawarau Bridge?
What is life, if not the sum of your experiences? My first jump, well chronicled in a previous blog, really got me to thinking. I remember standing up there on the ledge, looking down into the canyon more than 200 feet below me. And I remember the nice young men, who stood there with me after securing the web of harnesses, saying to me, “OK. Whenever you’re ready, you can jump.” Time stood still. Truth was, I wasn’t ready. I would never be ready. How can anyone be ready to jump off a ledge? But I jumped anyway. I’d had months to think about that experience, and the next time we found ourselves in Queenstown, I didn’t need to be asked if I was ready. I was ready. The men at the platform of the Kawarau Bridge (the original AJ Hackett bridge jump) counted down…”3″…..”2″…..but I was leaping off the bridge before they said “1”.
I think jumping has become a metaphor for our time here in New Zealand. Living life full on. No holding back. If the door’s open, go through it…if it’s not open, see if the door is locked, and if it’s locked, try the door anyway.
We try something new almost every weekend. From spearfishing in a very, very cold ocean so close to Antarctica, trying our hands at target shooting, to jumping off bridges, ledges or tall buildings.
Nike came up with the slogan, but it’s true.
Just do it.