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  1. Thank you again, everyone, for the advice. I took what everyone here said and applied the advice to my jumps this weekend, had a total "me" weekend. Here's what happened. The last jump I did this weekend, I was to be third to last out on the first pass, surrounded by a group of people I've never seen before.Usually, my nerves at this point would be in overdrive, especially sitting next to the door, but instead, I thought about what I was going to do. When the person next to me learned that I, too, was a solo, he offered to do the jump with me, but because that wasn't my dive plan, and I knew what I wanted to work on, I politely declined and concentrated on what I was going to do, concentrated on touching my handles in the order I would pull them. At 5000', I watched as the hop 'n pop jumped. I watched him under canopy and enjoyed the beauty of that sight. My turn to jump came. Someone helped me with spotting and told me to go, and I did a perfect diving exit, caught the relative wind and enjoyed the feeling of the air as my body "fell" into its arch while watching the plane go away. For the first time since I've been jumping, or maybe since the first time I jumped, I simply enjoyed the feeling of the wind, the feeling of flying, the beauty of the sky. I looked down for the first time ever, kept total altitude awareness, looked around and felt myself smiling in freefall. After I pulled and saw the canopy, I played around a bit, as I usually do, and again, for the first time ever, saw my shadow in a what tiny bit of industrial haze there was in an otherwise flawless sky. Again, I smiled a huge smile and remembered why I want to continue doing this. Landing still leaves a lot to be desired, but I'll work on that. My jumps in general still leave a lot to be desired, but as I told someone last night, while part of me regrets that I've waited this late in life to discover the sport, a larger part of me is so excited because I know that I have the rest of my life to do nothing but learn more. I'm so looking forward to learning more. Thank you all, again. a.j.
  2. Thank you for the responses. At least I know I'm not the only one. I try to jump every weekend, weather permitting, so infrequency isn't too much of a problem. Once I'm in the plane, I'm much less nervous on the ride to altitude--breathing techniques really help (so does mentally rehearsing what I plan to do and singing to myself). I'm still having fun, thankfully, because I really do love the sport. And while I always want to stay a little nervous, I'm hoping it will ebb in time. "The Wall" sounds about right; I'm remembering a lot more about the actual freefall and realizing that, hey, there are other people nearby, too. Plus, I'm looking around more, something I didn't do when I was on AFF. My comfort zone has expanded, I suppose, so I'm more aware. *********************** The most dangerous phase is when you get a hundred jumps, know everything, won't listen to anybody, and downsize to a Velocity 97 because you're such a hot canopy pilot. Until then, you'll be fine. ********************** I think this was what he was talking about, in general in regards to jump-numbers, not me, specifically. I've heard about the 100 jump-wonders but I know that the more I learn, the more I have left to learn. Plus, I'm extremely conservative by nature and know enough to know that I don't know nearly enough--about anything. Jumping with a coach has been helpful, as I've noticed I'm less stressed than. Haven't quite figured out why just yet, though I think it's having someone else as a reference point. At least I do know I'll stick with this and see this through. I'm entirely too competitive with myself not to and, I realized last night, I'm already planning future jumps in my head. Sorry for the length. Thank you all, again. a.j.
  3. I’ve been jumping for a few months, have completed AFF and am almost to my A license. However, The more I jump, the more fear I have. I’ve spoken with different people about this, people with a lot more experience than I, and everyone has been reassuring, saying that they, too, have gone through this, that the more a person jumps, the more he or she realizes what the risks are. With only a few more jumps to my A license, though, I’m finding that the fear is almost insurmountable. If I’m not overly concerned with what could go wrong with the A/C, I’m concerned with my exit, with others in the air, then deployment, then traffic as I’m setting up for landing, then landing itself (though this is getting better). Just yesterday, someone told me that I’m now entering the most dangerous phase of the sport, jump-number wise. This added just a bit to my level of apprehension. I realize that some fear is a good thing; it keeps me safe. This amount of anxiety, though, is driving me crazy and is taking a lot of the fun out of the sport for me. Is this normal? Will it ever go away? And any tips to help me continue until it does diminish?