How did I ring in my 24th year? Read on to find out.
As I mentioned before, I turned 24 on July 10th. In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I was asked often by my family and friends what I wanted for my birthday. I made it clear that if I was going to be given a gift, I wanted it to be experience-based. Essentially, I said, “no stuff.” I do not need another shirt or candle, and since I will be moving for grad school soon, I don’t want it either. What I really want are experiences. I wanted to celebrate my birthday with the people I love doing the things I love.
Here is how I celebrated by birthday 24 times over:
- A day in Denmark
- Practicing my swing at the batcade
- Cuddled up on my bed with my mom, hearing the story of my birth at midnight on July 10th
- Exploring the ancient ruins of Tulum
- A day in Poland
- Escaping from an insane asylum with my family in under an hour
- A day in Belgium
- Walking through the neighborhoods of Los Angeles
- A weekend in Mexico
- Skydiving over the California coast
- A day in Sweden
- Cocktail challenge with my family
- A road trip to Ashland, Oregon
- A day with Mason
- Sharing a legal drink with my now-21 brother
- A day in Estonia
- Frozen yogurt with my parents
- Drinks with my best friend at a bar in Colfax, California
- Cuddling new-born puppies
- A weekend in Russia
- Trying Lithium water for the first time
- A day in Finland
- Watching the Dodgers score five home runs
- A road trip to Eugene, Oregon
I feel so lucky. I asked for experiences and, damn, did I get them! I will be posting a separate blog about each of cities and countries that I was able to visit, but I wanted to expand on one of the experiences I listed above: skydiving! I never thought I would go skydiving, but with 23 being all about challenging myself, it seemed like a great way to round out my year. I went skydiving in Camarillo, CA with my brother three days before I turned 24. Leading up to the day, I was a little nervous, but once I was in the car heading to Camarillo, I wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, I actually feel asleep during the hour-long drive! After completing the training (which was only about 5 minutes), Nick and I harnessed up and loaded into the tiny, stripped-out plane.
We were going tandem, with our instructors Matt and Jason.
It was such an amazing experience. I felt excited as we ascended the 10,000 feet, but as we prepared to jump, an erie calm washed over me. I felt completely open to whatever would happen next, knowing that I held little control over the next 15 minutes of my life. I heard Nick yell,”See ya, bitches!” (we always keep it classy in the Meyer household) and watched Nick drop like a stone to the Earth. Within five seconds, I was hanging out of an airplane. Unlike Nick’s exit from the plane, my instructor kicked off my descent with a backflip!
Soon we were flying through the sky, dropping 5,000 feet in 30 seconds. The free-fall was amazing. The outstretched horizon before me made me feel so small, but the quiet made me feel like the only person on the planet (except for Matt strapped behind me). In those moments, the world was calm. The only sense of the speed we were dropping at was given through the difficulty I found in breathing (dropping at 166 feet per second made the rush of air into my lungs so forceful I could barely exhale). After the initial free-fall, we pulled the cord and let the parachute slow our descent. We spent about 10 minutes gliding through the air, taking sharp turns that brought my stomach into my chest.
Before long, we were coming into landing, which made me happy as the harness was really cutting into my groin. As I bruise like a peach, within a day, I had proof of my jump in a new form: tender purple and green spots. But I left with more than just bruising, we also got certificates.
I have to admit, we felt pretty bad ass!
It was such a great birthday gift from my parents. My mom jumped in her 20s as well and, when her parachute deployed in a tangled mess, learned a lot about how to stay calm, remember her training, and save herself. Luckily, I was jumping tandem with a professional and didn’t have the same experience. My jump, however, did reinforce my love for trying new things. I learned again to “never say never” and be open to new experiences. I definitely loved this one and it will not be my last jump! Thanks, mom and dad for the gift, and Nick for going with me.
I am so fortunate to be able to have such wonderful people in my life who make me feel special 365 days a year.
Would you ever go skydiving? Let us know below!