0
Zeppo

When is it time to walk away...

Recommended Posts

I know the answer to that varies with everyone, and I know there are newbies out there that think what I'm talking about is blasphemy. However, I've been skydiving for nearly 10 years (started when I was 25) have 1,100 jumps, TM, AFF, etc.

There feels to be to be two major factors. The first one is that I'm just not enjoying hanging around the DZ any more.

The 2nd, a little closer to home, is that I'm tired of losing so many friends. I do acknowledge that they understood their choices and I don't want to hold that against them personally, but I feel that at any time, a simple mistake, judgement error, or maybe even some other factor out of your control. As someone who's looking to start a family now, I don't know if I'm willing to take that risk any longer.

It's probably not something that anyone can explain one way or the other, but I imagine that there are people on here that either have left the sport, or those that know people that have left, but still maintain friendship.

What was your story?
What goes up, must come DOWN!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Been there, done that, quit for 13 years. Always intended to start again, but didn't really miss it when I wasn't jumping. The sky was still there when I started again.

If you quit, the sky will still be there if you start again. Even if you just end up laying off for a few months.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I walked away after 14 years and 7000 jumps. I was a full time tandem guy, caravan and otter pilot.
Started jumping when I was 19. Lived in trailers, starved during the winter, traveled the country, met awesome people, saw amazing things.
Skydiving was my life. Until it wasn't...
I still miss it from time to time, definitely miss the people.
Don't miss working in the industry one bit.
I came to know that (for me) being a "professional skydiver" was not a realistic, long term career choice.
I needed a drastic change. I took an entry level job working in the oil and gas industry, worked my way up to a project management position.
Bought a house, married the girl who stayed with me through all of it, we have some pet birds (guess I like flying things).
We live 10 miles from the DZ I "retired" from. I still dream about flying and jumping. One day maybe I'll be back.
At the time that I hung it up it was the hardest -and best-decision I ever made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I used to be the type of jumper that showed up on a Friday as soon as I could cut classes and work and would stay the entire weekend and sometimes Sunday night too just to get more time at the DZ to someone that shows up every couple of weeks for a few hours and leaves to go home to the family. I had the tandem ratings and while I never worked full time I was able to afford a new rig every other year off my earnings if I wanted it. As I grow older I realize that I missed a lot of things by giving up every weekend to jump. I never spent any time with my family, I never hung out with anyone unless they were at the DZ and I was so singular in my focus on skydiving I never knew what else to do. I scaled things down over the last 2 years now that I have a child and I know that I was pushing the safety factor a lot a few years ago. I now enjoy spending time with her more than the enjoyment I get out of skydiving.

I used to say I would be a lifer and would do hundreds of jumps every year and always dreamed of just doing it full time. Now I am perfectly happy if I only get 50 jumps in during a year and I can totally see the day where I step away until I have that need to come back after the kid is grown up.

In the mean time there is the tunnels that get my fix for freefall...
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pretty much why I quit. The DZ wasn't my happy place anymore, and was spending too much time and emotional energy visiting people in the hospital.

I finally figured out what whuffos do on the weekend: a fucking shit-ton of fun stuff.

If it's no longer worth risking your life over, quit. You'll miss it, but life will go on. It might even get better.

- Dan G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's taken me almost 40 years to get 6100 jumps, a snail's pace by some modern standards. But I think that's why I haven't burned out yet.

Maybe just slow down and take some time off. Make some fun jumps. Help a friend work on their A license.

Or maybe just walk away. There's a whole world out there away from jumping. You're still welcome to hang out here. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's pretty much where I'm at. Not interested in hanging out at the DZ, and sick of losing friends so I've virtually quit. I still have my gear (can't quite bring myself to sell it, yet) and occasionally do a jump or two if the mood hits me, but I've got more interesting things to do these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zeppo

I know the answer to that varies with everyone, and I know there are newbies out there that think what I'm talking about is blasphemy. However, I've been skydiving for nearly 10 years (started when I was 25) have 1,100 jumps, TM, AFF, etc.

There feels to be to be two major factors. The first one is that I'm just not enjoying hanging around the DZ any more.

The 2nd, a little closer to home, is that I'm tired of losing so many friends. I do acknowledge that they understood their choices and I don't want to hold that against them personally, but I feel that at any time, a simple mistake, judgement error, or maybe even some other factor out of your control. As someone who's looking to start a family now, I don't know if I'm willing to take that risk any longer.

It's probably not something that anyone can explain one way or the other, but I imagine that there are people on here that either have left the sport, or those that know people that have left, but still maintain friendship.

What was your story?



Clearly it depends on one's priorities. I went the opposite direction. I met a woman 26 years ago when she was making her 4th jump and I had a few hundred. She already had two kids so I went from single and carefree to husband and father overnight. Never once considered leaving the sport.

Both of our kids are grown now and both have jumped since they were 16. Our son is a professional competitive skydiver and also competes at the national level in CP, so you can imagine the worry we go through on that one. Instead of biting my nails, I encouraged (ok, demanded) him to learn his CP craft well and he has.

I lost count of the friends I've lost a very long time ago. I don't try to count any more. It's not productive. I can't bring them back, but I can learn from their demise and teach others to be as safe as possible.

If I stop jumping I can't lead others by example, so for me the time to stop jumping will come when I'm not capable of doing it safely.

Gravity always works and no one has missed the planet yet, but life ends for all of us in some way. In the wise words of Truman Sparks, I'd rather die skydiving than in some senseless tragedy.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have had a smoldering desire to skydive all of my adult life. But too many other things were in the way and I didn't give it serious thought, until I realized that in a few years I might be too old to start.

I started at age 54 (3 years in the sport Oct 2014). I am not very involved with life at the DZ but I do have friends there. I am not the type to skydive for the thrill, so I am not looking for increasingly exciting and new facets in the sport. Someday the challenges that do interest me will no longer be challenges and my interest will decrease.

As long as I am able and I desire to jump, my plan is to stay with it. But when the desire decreases, I expect I will move on to something else......and see if the sky calls me back.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
After 10 years it just wasn't fun anymore.

The 2 hour drive to the DZ started to become a chore, rather than getting me excited, so I just started to do it less. As I did it less, it started to become even less fun until eventually I just didn't turn up any more.

I only miss it very occasionally. As DanG said, it opens opportunities to do loads of other fun stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
chuckakers


Clearly it depends on one's priorities. I went the opposite direction. I met a woman 26 years ago when she was making her 4th jump and I had a few hundred. She already had two kids so I went from single and carefree to husband and father overnight. Never once considered leaving the sport.

Both of our kids are grown now and both have jumped since they were 16. Our son is a professional competitive skydiver and also competes at the national level in CP, so you can imagine the worry we go through on that one. Instead of biting my nails, I encouraged (ok, demanded) him to learn his CP craft well and he has.

I lost count of the friends I've lost a very long time ago. I don't try to count any more. It's not productive. I can't bring them back, but I can learn from their demise and teach others to be as safe as possible.

If I stop jumping I can't lead others by example, so for me the time to stop jumping will come when I'm not capable of doing it safely.

Gravity always works and no one has missed the planet yet, but life ends for all of us in some way. In the wise words of Truman Sparks, I'd rather die skydiving than in some senseless tragedy.



^ If for nothing else - simply for the above, you're one of my heros and I hope we get the chance to meet and jump together someday.
Every fight is a food fight if you're a cannibal

Goodness is something to be chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man. - Anthony Burgess

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Normiss and I don't really hang out at the dz much anymore. Once you've heard the same stories from the same drunk-ass skydivers, you start feeling like you're in Groundhog Day. :P

Take some time off if you want to and don't feel guilty about it. I'd suggest you keep your rig for awhile, just in case. Thanks to the internet, you can totally stay in touch with your old friends. Heck, a lot of our friends are jumpers who have quit. It might take a little more effort to meet up with your friends who are still jumping, but your true friends will stick around.
She is Da Man, and you better not mess with Da Man,
because she will lay some keepdown on you faster than, well, really fast. ~Billvon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If it's not fun and rewarding, there is no reason to put your ass on the line 8 or so times every Saturday and Sunday between April and October. This is stating the obvious, I know, but skydiving has serious, significant risks. No matter how good you are, no matter how careful, this sport can bite hard and fast. There is no reason to take the risk if you are not having fun. As other posters have said, there is lots of other cool stuff going on outside the DZ. It sounds like maybe you should take a break and try some of that other stuff. After a while, the skies may call you back. Or they may not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ontario has had a run of bad luck lately.

It seriously sucks to lose friends and people you know.

It is time to walk away from skydiving when you no longer respect that it can kill you.

It is time to walk away when it is no longer fun and it is just a job.

It is only skydiving, we are not curing cancer.

However, I have met so many wonderful people over the last 25 years, I would not change a thing.

You just have to remember what is it about skydiving that you enjoy and just keep doing it.

Blue skies

Major Dad
CSPA D-579

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting, I haven't been here in a while so I log on today and...

I was just having this conversation with my wife. In the 14 years I have been jumping I have always had times when I'm more, or times when I'm less current, but I've never gone more than a month or so without jumping.

At Chicks Rock 2012 I busted my knee, after surgery I had a detached retina and then it was followed by c5 -c6 herniation that required discectomy and fusion. (originally caused by a Sabre1 hard opening back in 2002)

Since Chicks Rock I haven't jumped... I had a year+ of pain/surgery, sitting on the couch and not working, accompanied by depression wondering if I would ever get MY life back. Well I feel great now, I'm pain free, 100% recovery in the knee and neck, better than they have felt in a long time. I have my rig in for repack right now but I have asked myself if it is in fact time to hang it up... Is it still worth it?? If I injured myself again and ended up on the couch again I would lose it. (btw this is my first real injury in skydiving)

I don't want to quit but I have always felt skydiving is something you MUST have the drive to do. For me its not like catching a movie, not something I do on a whim, either I'm in or out. I haven't made the drive to the DZ in soo long, will it in-fact be a chore?? Also, for me skydiving while not current is NOT fun skydiving at all, so if I'm not going to go enough to remain current then maybe this is it...

Saddens me to think this, I have been planning on learning to wingsuit, a whole new era for me...

Thanks for the post, its nice to hear others with the same (kinda) thing going on.

Good luck with your decision,
Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zeppo

It's probably not something that anyone can explain one way or the other, but I imagine that there are people on here that either have left the sport, or those that know people that have left, but still maintain friendship.

What was your story?



Thanks for asking... and starting this thread.

I've been connected in some way to jumping out of airplanes since jump school days while in the 82nd at Ft. Bragg in 1960. I don't have many jumps for all the time I've been in the sport--as a DZO, Instructor and pilot--because running a DZ is a business. Running a successful business and having fun jumping out of airplanes are impossible simultaneously.

I enjoyed flying jumpers much more than teaching and jumping. The people and the life style that existed at Pelicanland in the '70s, where I did most of my flying, was magical.

I haven't jumped out of an airplane for over 30 years but I'm still a skydiver and jump pilot...in my head.

At 73 I doubt that I'll make many more jumps or line up my plane for a jump run. The memories I have of the jumpers who I've taught, jump mastered, and flown lifts for makes old age almost inviting. (Lots of exciting things to think about.)

Jumpers have a relationship with living that whuffos will never understand.
Guru312

I am not DB Cooper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some people just get over it.
and some actually gets more fear of skydive as their jump number goes up.
I was fearless when I had 200-500 jumps, now I'm scared of alot of things.

I thought I was gonna do 10000th jumps and quit the sport and I'm 4000-3000 short of it. I might come back and throw drogues later on, I've seen some old dudes come back after 10-15 years of "real world".

I've spent close to 10 years in never-never land, where grown up acts like a kid and learn how to fly. I've grown out of it. Maybe one day Tinker Bell will take me back there.

As for now, I'm done with throwing drogues, filming, or even try to teach aff.
Bernie Sanders for President 2016

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BIGUN


Skydiving is what you do; not who you are.



That's it in a nutshell, but perhaps it's an oversimplification.

When we start we're drawn in by many factors. We STAY for our own reason.

Different reasons are a priority for different people...some like the challenge competition offers, some get gratification from teaching, others fun jump just to be around the people.

Whatever the motivation one thing seems universal - the sport becomes a huge part of our life, something we not only enjoy but something we need.

Over the course of time the shine wears off a bit, maybe family or career rearrange priorities - we still love the sport but not in the Gung-Ho wear a pull-up cord to work everyday kinda way.

First indicator you've reached that point is when you tire of answering the same wuffo questions all the time...you tend to find that ya are ONLY wear Skydiving Tees at the DZ these days and not to Christmas dinner with the in-laws. :D

Even further down the road - you may find yourself thinking you've pretty much achieved all the 'goals' you may have had...and heck, not really EVER gonna win a gold at the worlds - or whatever - ...and the same question begins to to come up in your mind more & more often - is this really worth the time, money, divorces etc. :S

You STILL enjoy the sport, but not on the level you once did and maybe not at all for the reasons you were initially attracted. :D

Now throw into that mix, the fact over time you've lost some very dear friends...THAT hits each of us in different ways.

Some don't think about it - some maybe think about it too much. :|




SO ~ after whatever period of time...and it varies because no two people or their circumstances are the same - we try to break it all down into some kind of sense. >:(

We ask ourself:
In MY case - is the risk worth the reward...is there logical justification for participation? :ph34r:

~ That's a question no one can answer FOR you ~ and truthfully, there IS no wrong answer. :)

Speaking personally - into my 39th year of involvement, no one is more surprised than I am that I'm still here! :$

At 18, it was something i'd been fascinated with and thought ~ Hell just give it a try. B|

Over that time I've loved different things about the sport at different times. I've matured in certain ways and watched Skydiving do the same. :ph34r:

Skydiving overall has been really good to me, I've made lifelong friends that are as close or more so than family. It's paid the bills at times, taken me all over the planet, opened my eyes to things I never would have seen without being in it & led me down paths I didn't know existed. B|B|

Having acknowledged all of that - it unequivocally is NOT who I am. :o

It's something I do, so yes it's a part of me - but no more so than any other experience I've had in my life that somehow either by luck or design, I found a way to build on.

These days - I revel in the challenge of complex demos, I sometimes miss the weekends I can't hit the DZ, because I thrive on the vibe...it's like a battery that I both need to charge, but also watch that I don't 'over-charge'. :P

Most of all - It's the feeling in my soul that I get when I just jump solo at sunset & stand on my head the whole dive - watching the planet get big and reaffirming I'm alive - THAT is something that to me, is well worth the risk & twice the price of admission! :)
If everything I've ever done in my near 4 decades of involvement with Skydiving was ONLY to get that feeling at THIS stage of the game...TOO FUCKIN' COOL!

That may change someday I don't know...and really I don't often think about it so for now, I guess I don't really care.

If something within me suddenly says - that's it you're done - I'll trust myself and just walk away.

Maybe that's that's the point I'm trying to make ~ Use the single most important skill this sport imparts.

Trust Yourself ~ when it comes to answering the hard question...you really DO know the answer.

If you do go, you can always come back...but either way when you follow your heart - you'll never have any decision regrets about starting to skydive OR staying too long ;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

It doesn't cure cancer or get world piece.




It certainly doesn't cure cancer...but as far as 'get WORLD piece'

Umm - I for one have met some VERY interesting ladies in the sport in an effort to further international relations! :$

Peace Out ;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You have found a very special place as an Ambassador for skydiving in many areas and a beautiful ability to balance over the years of which I for one - envy.
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0