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Balance – What’s That!?

S#1t – Life (skydiving) has been keeping me busy lately, REALLY busy!! My apologies to everyone for being so slack with blogging.

As I am now on my skydiving club’s committee, lots of hours at home are spent working on club newsletters and helping redesign the website. When I am not working on committee / club stuff I am researching my new *possible* project (more about that just now).

I am glad to say that my jump numbers have been racking up very nicely – after this past weekend, I am up to 70 :-). I know I am still in the very early stages, but hey – it’s not bad since I’ve only been jumping since March!

As I mentioned in a previous post – I’m waiting for my CI’s approval to jump my new 150 Hornet, although my wingloading is less than 1:1, my CI just wants to ensure I don’t break myself on a 150 canopy. Personally, I feel very capable of flying my canopy – but he’s the boss! His requirement of me, is to get my B-Licence and he might then agree to let me jump my rig 🙂 so – like an excited little boy on Christmas Eve (I used to open all my presents and re-wrap them and stick them back under the tree), I am doing everything I can to get my B-Licence. I passed both CAT 2 jumps this past weekend and am hoping to do my CAT 3 by the end of next month at the ABSOLUTE latest – I have a bit of practising to do in the mean time! Since I found my new jump partner (Maryke), that moved to my DZ when she found a job nearby, not a jump has passed that we aren’t both working on something (both in freefall and under canopy). So this weekend I guess I’ll be exiting slightly later than her so I can practise chasing her down and pinning the base for my CAT 3 jump :-).

We are planning a Boogie between Christmas and New Year at one of the towns on the coast line that always buzzes with parties over this period. Again – this is driving me to get my B-Licence, there is no way I’m going to sit and watch on the beach while everyone else lands on it!!

Sorry – I digress.

I have also been spending lots of time helping my coach (Michael) with a Power Point presentation on a First Jump Course, which you can imagine, is quite a bit of typing!

Tonight I am off to Michael’s place to drop off the loan 170 rig that I have been jumping as he sold it, and to pick up my new loan rig.

🙂 My *possible* new project 🙂

I have decided that South Africa needs a Vertical Wind Tunnel, and who better to build / buy one than me!? Well, probably lots of people, but I want to do it!! So I am investing huge amounts of time and effort researching, meeting with engineers and talking on the phone to suppliers in the States and Latvia.

My main concern is whether it will be financially viable to build one in South Africa; our population is tiny in comparison to other parts of the world that have a wind tunnel, furthermore – the percentage of the population that this would appeal to, is smaller still!

I am determined to do this though, even if it goes belly-up, it will be a good learning experience, but at a cost of about 60 Million Rand, a very expensive one!

I have been trying to decide if it would be financially beneficial to have local engineers design one in South Africa, verses purchasing one from overseas. I have come to the conclusion that yes, it might be Slightly cheaper, but why save a few pennies and not have the years of experience and trial and error, when for a little extra, I would get all the backup support and a state of the art 14 foot wind tunnel capable of flying a 250lb person on his/her head very easily??:-)

My next big step is to secure financial investors, but this still requires a lot of work to put a financial and business plan together for my proposal.

So – as my heading suggests, there is no balance – I find myself arriving late to just about every function that happens over a weekend because I want to squeeze in just one more jump before I have to leave.

On weather hold days, I am at the DZ watching BASE and skydiving videos, packing and re-packing 150 that I can’t jump yet.

I no longer party on the nights prior to jumping (unless it’s a Saturday and I’m drinking beer at the DZ with my jumping friends), I can’t even remember what I used to do with my weekends before I started skydiving!

Before, I never liked not being in a relationship, now – I don’t mind being single and have given up on the idea of finding a girl that would be happy with me spending me all my time, money and energy on skydiving! I want a skydiving chick! 🙂

Needless to say, I LIVE skydiving! My career goals and ambitions have changed, my personality has changed and just life in general no longer contains even a smidget of my previous life – AND I LOVE IT THIS WAY!!

Balance – WHAT’S THAT!?

Blue Skies and Happy Days!


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A game of balance

Before I dive right into my first topic, I should probably give a short introduction, huh?

I’m Ashley – the newest blogger here at Skydive Addiction. I’m beyond thrilled that Adam asked me to join the crew here because, just like the rest of ’em, I’m an adrenaline junkie. My path to the sport started like a lot of others: I did a tandem skydive thinking it’d be a one time thrill, but by the time my feet were back on the ground I knew this was something I’d be doing for the rest of my life.

That was just more than a year ago. I’ve spent the last year of my life changing everything I once knew. My relationships have changed along with my priorities and my work/life balance. My views of the world are different. I’m stronger and happier than I’ve ever been. I’ve learned lessons I thought I never would have – all thanks to skydiving.

My skydiving career is just beginning, but I already feel like I’ve accomplished so much. Most of the time I’m a freeflyer, working to perfect my head up positions, dabbling with head down every now and again. I’ve also begun playing in the sky with a wingsuit. There’s so much to learn and so many new challenges – I love this sport!

But I’m not here to just talk about me…

I was recently asked by a student skydiver this question: how do you balance it all? Where do you find the time to fit it all in?

It’s something I’ve been wracking my brain over for the past few days, because honestly, there’s not one right answer. And if there is, I’ve yet to figure it out.

Balance is something I struggle with everyday. I’m a multitasker, so if there aren’t a million balls in the air at once I’m bored. Sometimes this backfires and I lose a ball or two, but for the most part it’s worked for me so far.

What I can tell you is that I’ve learned the importance of the other parts of my life, outside of the dropzone. It’s really hit me hard this season that *gasp* there IS life outside of skydiving. Until recently, nothing else mattered. My focus was on skydiving as often as possible, traveling when the weather gets bad, going to boogies, spending every weekend feeding the need for freefall. But that quickly led to my obsession bleeding into those times when I couldn’t be out skydiving, like when I had to go to work. My work days were miserable, I was day dreaming about that next jump…my focus was on the sport and nothing else. Relationships with my family and friends were suffering. The worst part: I didn’t even care.

I’ve come to realize that a balance is possible. Life isn’t always about that next adrenaline fix. Sometimes it’s about slowing down and savoring every moment. I think wingsuiting taught me how to do that. It’s like I was once freeflying through life at high speeds, always looking toward that next adrenaline fix, and now I’m learning to take a little more time to savor the good things in life, to savor that freefall for a little longer.

Ha! Cool analogy. I just pulled that one out of thin air. I’m pretty proud :).

One piece of advice that I was given a few months back came from the freefall photographer, Norman Kent, and it’s this: embrace each moment and live it to the fullest. That’s what skydiving is about – we leave whatever is in our heads in the door the second we jump out and for 60 seconds, it’s all about the skydive. So do that with all aspects of your life. Open your eyes and shut your mouth. Pay attention. Embrace every moment as it’s happening rather than looking behind you or too far out in front. Live in the moment.

I guess the best way for me to approach it is to take life one step at a time, compartmentalize. When I’m at the office (doing a job I love I must add…I’m lucky in that respect) I’m thinking of the job at hand. It helps me be a better practitioner and I end up enjoying it more. When I’m blogging, my focus is on the topic and my readers. And of course, when I’m skydiving, it’s all about the jump.

So for now, that’s the best I can offer on keeping your life balanced while considering yourself a skydiver. I’m still a newbie too, so it’s very much a learning process. I’ll be sure to share the lessons as they continue to arise.

Until then…

Blue ones!