Taking the Leap on my 18th Birthday: Falling Beyond the Face of Fear

Tara+Kaveh+falls+more+than+13%2C000+feet+over+Yolo+County+on+her+18th+birthday+with+her+skydiving+instructor.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Taking the Leap on my 18th Birthday: Falling Beyond the Face of Fear

Tara Kaveh falls more than 13,000 feet over Yolo County on her 18th birthday with her skydiving instructor.

Tara Kaveh falls more than 13,000 feet over Yolo County on her 18th birthday with her skydiving instructor.

Courtesy of Skydance Skydiving

Tara Kaveh falls more than 13,000 feet over Yolo County on her 18th birthday with her skydiving instructor.

Courtesy of Skydance Skydiving

Courtesy of Skydance Skydiving

Tara Kaveh falls more than 13,000 feet over Yolo County on her 18th birthday with her skydiving instructor.

Tara Kaveh, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The only way to conquer fear is to face it. As I stand on the edge of the plane, the instructor’s hands and feet gripping the edge are the only barriers between the safety of the plane and the danger of plunging 13,000 feet to the ground below—I am in the face of fear.

Youth is the age of bliss. A time of racing emotions and ideas when life is such a roller coaster that people find themselves getting used to jumping for joy one day and crying the next. With all its ups and downs and twists and turns, youth is the golden time in one’s life when it is possible to live every day to the fullest and to accomplish more than the imaginable. This is the time we are most capable of facing our fears and successfully mastering them.

I am standing with my feet firmly on the ground, looking up at the skydivers above me. Fear melts to excitement and flames back into fear. It is too late to turn back now; I am already in full gear just waiting for the moment when the instructors tell me to hop on the plane for the 10-minute ride 13,000 feet above. As I stare up at the descending skydivers, a bee buzzes around my ear. I jerk away and let out a shriek. How is it possible to be scared of a tiny bee when in a matter of minutes I will be jumping out of a plane?

It is human nature to be afraid. Humans do not like to feel the pain of a bee sting nor do they like the idea of jumping to their death. It is that youthful fire inside that urges dangerous activities like skydiving, getting tattoos, swimming with sharks and any other crazy thing imaginable. Although youth are usually fully aware of the consequences, we choose to do these things regardless. The adventure of the experience and the thrilling uncertainty of the result prod these decisions.

I can barely wrap my fingers around my harness because they are shaking too much. One by one we climb into the small aircraft, and I know this is it. If there was no turning back before, there sure isn’t any turning back now. My altimeter reads 1,000 feet… 2,000… 3,000—faster than I thought a plane’s engine could go. My hands get clammy and my body tenses up as I look out of the window to see the Sierra Nevada Mountains, invisible from the ground. My instructor asks if I am ready. We are only 6,000 feet high, ready for what?

“Happy birthday! Happy birthday to you!” bursts out across the plane. Thousands of feet in the air and about to plunge to what may very well be the end of my short life, these people that I just met are singing happy birthday to me. This is it. That unforgettable experience I set out to find, any anxieties or worries I had immediately slip away. No matter what happens, this experience is worth it.

The instructor clings to the edge of the plane as he counts, one… two… three. I look around me and all I see is blue sky. Truly, I am not afraid.

I feel my body jerk forward and I know that the instructor has let go.

Two hundred mile per hour winds rush against my face, my hands feel numb and I cannot breathe. I am falling. Just the wind against my body and the azure skies—there is nothing else.

After a minute of remarkable nothingness, the clouds clear up to show the ground rushing towards me. The parachute opens. Now I am flying.

My instructor lets me direct the parachute as he explains to me that the current of the wind is the same as the current of the ocean, flowing continuously in one direction and never stopping. It may change direction, it may slow down but the current never stops.

With my feet firmly planted on the ground once again, I realize my life did not stop either.

No matter what fears you have, once you decide to take them under your own control and face them head-on, an invaluable experience will surely follow. In the face of fear you may very well find what actually lies behind is adventure.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email