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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!