On Labor Day, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.
Why? Because it was exhilarating, fun, heart racing, and all the things you would imagine. Some people said to me “I would never do that!” or “Weren’t you scared?” This was my second time skydiving. I was less nervous than the first time and actually felt very safe.
I’ve also made it a point not to live in fear of the “what ifs” in life.
I receive a lot of phone calls from parents getting ready for a trip. They call wanting to get in to see me in case they don’t come back. For many of my clients it is the first time they have been away from their children for an extended period of time - they are going overseas, or doing something “dangerous” like scuba diving, rafting… or skydiving. We are happy to help those folks but are most happy after we plan - knowing that we’ve helped provide peace of mind and the freedom to chase their dreams, travel on a whim or even do something a little “dangerous”.
If these thoughts are inspiring you to try something “dangerous”, I’ve got just the thing: SKYDIVING. I jumped with Skydive Greene County in Xenia, Ohio. (If you decide to go, do not prepare yourself to be impressed when you arrive.) The outfit consists of a small airplane hangar and a single story building with peeling paint. Think of a canoe livery but with airplanes, harnesses, and parachutes instead of canoes, paddles, and lifejackets. Inside, the walls are covered with articles and pictures of folks who have used Skydive Greene County and of its owner.
After check-in, I was required to watch a video and complete a waiver. The video was on VHS and consisted of a man with a long beard sitting in a leather bound chair behind a desk letting all who were viewing know that they were about to voluntarily do something dangerous and that they could not sue anybody for anything related to a voluntary act of jumping out of the airplane. The waiver was five pages or so of legalese “some lawyer” put together to memorialize that the reader knew they could not sue if something bad happened.
I was then introduced to my instructor. He fitted me with a harness and gave me my training. “When we go out of the plane, arch your back. When I tap your shoulder, put out your hands.” That was it.
I did a tandem jump which most people have seen. After entering the plane, I was strapped to my instructor like a child in a Baby Bjorn. In other words, I was going where he was going. This provided me a lot of comfort. He didn’t seem suicidal, so I figured, he didn’t want to die so he was going to make darn sure he (and I) got to the ground safely - if for no other reason than the fact that he had four more people to take up in the next hour. Overall, it was a great experience and I hope to do it again someday.
My middle name isn’t really Danger, it’s Kenneth. But I do like adventure, and I love being able to try new things – even if they are a little dangerous.
I take great comfort in knowing that I’ve done everything I can to plan for the care and well-being of my loved ones after I’m gone.
I encourage you to get your planning in order. It can be the first step to trying new, adventurous things. Let your estate plan be for you like my skydiving instructor was for me on our tandem jump…your comfort and peace of mind.