Happy Anniversary!

Sometime during the beginning of 2003, my life began to unravel, seam by seam.

The Self-Important Attorney With No Soul -- previously the Man I Thought I Would Marry -- dumped me after I moved to Cincinnati. Soon after, he wed a peppy young something. And then they decided to breed.

The pain of this was stark and powerful. Almost every morning, I would open my eyes and curse the fact I was still there in my cluttered apartment, still alone, still me.

Around the same time, my mother's Alzheimer's began to worsen considerably. She was impossible to understand -- she formed a horrible stutter and began slipping into her native German. She confused me with my sister, and sometimes with my brother. And as she felt herself slipping away, she grew frustrated, angry, sad. As we carted her from specialist to specialist, receiving little to no help, she was would throw frightened tantrums like a stubborn dog at the vet.

Factor in my new job, where I was far too unsure of my abilities and often compared myself to my colleagues, and my new location, an unfamiliar and conservative city, and it's no wonder I slipped into serious depression.

I was a one-woman Bourbon Street. All vice, all parties, all night, all the time. I can't tell you the number of times I passed out on the floor of my living room, not knowing how I got there or what I had been doing the night before.

And then skydiving saved my life.

Talk to people in the sport, and you'll find a lot of them were like me -- at a similar crossroads -- when they began jumping. You'll find people recovering from divorce, some who left their jobs, some grieving a loved one, some who were never accepted elsewhere.

The diseased, broken and depressed often turn to skydiving. It's what to do where there's nothing left to do. Personally, and I suspect this is the case with a lot of us, I no longer feared dying because I was already somewhat dead.

The metaphors of jumping are significant: taking a big plunge, making the big leap, stepping out into the unknown. And ultimately, it's all about taking control of your life, making the decision to save yourself.

Talk to people in the sport, and you'll see skydiving fills a void. In my life, I didn't even realize the void was there until I slowly began to put up the orange cones and patch over the hole. Now I'm pretty full. I might even say overflowing.

Yesterday was my two-year anniversary of skydiving. I've made around 300 jumps in that time.

Sometimes now I swell with so much joy and contentment, I'm scared to let myself admit it. I have to choke down the gladness, force myself to accept it all. I find myself suspended under canopy in a sunset, looking over the melon-tinged horizon, and I think to myself, "This. Right now. Drink in this moment."

Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that so much sadness could have led me down the path to such a happy place.

And sometimes I don't think about that former life at all. Sometimes I just try to drink in the moment.
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By Blogger Creating a Purposeful Life, at 10:21 AM  

I'm delighted you found skydiving. I'm glad you said Yes to life.
another Maggie    

By Blogger Joe, at 10:23 PM  

Maggie...Two years ago, nearly also about now, is when I arrived back in Cincinnati, tail tucked between my legs... It's funny how that's about the same time things turned for the better for me, too.

That was a beautiful entry into the blog. I'm struggling with what I want to say here, all public and stuff, but it's fantastic you found skydiving when you did.

And I'm glad I've been able to get to know you a bit now...    

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