Jumping out of a plane and other progress updates

Goal #24 Jump out of a plane (preferably with a parachute) – COMPLETED!!

SKydive
Jumping out of a plane at 14,000 ft on my 41st birthday (with Bob). Deland, Florida.

All I can say about that 1 second when you jump out of plane for the first time is, it’s freaking surreal!

I wasn’t scared at all. I wasn’t even nervous. I was surprisingly calm for someone who’s about to leap off a flying plane for the 1st time. I felt that way mainly because of my complete trust in my tandem buddy, Bob Crossman (of Skydive Deland). He has jumped more than 9500 times, and he made me feel very safe throughout. I met Bob on a yoga retreat with his fiancé, Kathryn Budig. When I told him about this goal, he explained the whole process to me. By understanding what actually goes on really helped me dispel the initial fear. Bob was also so welcoming and friendly that I knew I want to jump with him.

That being said, when we leaped off, it was “OH MY GOD, THIS IS CRAZY!!!” and then, “oooohh, this is reeeeally cool….”. It was the most liberating feeling ever. The free fall was indescribably awesome. It was a complete sensory overload, but in a very good way. I was a like puppy sticking his head out of a driving car for the 1st time. I was like, “weeeeeeeee….”. I wanted it to last forever (so it was a good thing that Bob was strapped to me to open the parachute!). The gliding after the parachute was opened was actually more scary to me than the free fall.

This goal is listed under “Courage”. I think my perspective has changed after jumping off a plane at 14,000 feet. I actually do feel more courageous now. 🙂 Sometimes you have to take a leap to live your life. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I am so glad I did it.

Some thoughts on some of the goals

I knew when I made the list that some goals would be difficult to measure and there wouldn’t really be a “mission accomplished” state, such as Goal #31 Be aware of praiseworthy situations and efforts, and pay sincere compliments to people. I was willing to give it a go because I really did want to become someone who proactively gives sincere compliments to people. It makes people happy, you know. However, this is proving to be more difficult than expected, simply because I don’t always remember this goal, and it is not my habit to praise people often (hence this goal). I think this kind of behavioral change requires constant reminding, and I am not doing a good job of it. After all, it’s not as straightforward as, for example, visiting 50 states. or skydiving.

In fact, after more than 8 months of living this project, I am getting a much better perspective of how some goals are not set up the right way, such as this one, or Goal #42 Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people. In theory, it’s a good intention. But in practice it’s frustrating not to be able to “cross it off”, so to speak. Another one is Goal #21 Learn CPR. After listening to a RadioLab podcast about how low the success rate is of applying CPR (around 3%), and how often the person (the non-pros) who applies the CPR end up cracking the ribs of the patient, I am now having second thoughts of this goal. Is it worth learning something that is not that useful? And would I feel comfortable or confident enough to apply it after learning it? I think I will give the list a whole year before amending or changing any of the goals. But I am thinking about a few of them.

Other progress updates:

Goal #1. Visit all 50 states in the US

41st birthday road trip 2013
My 41st birthday/Spring Break road trip. (3/16/2013-3/23/2013)

On my week-long birthday road trip, I hit 3 new states: North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi. It was a LOT of driving. I also ate at 9 restaurants featured on the Food Network show, Diners Drive-ins and Dives (it’s a mini-project of mine which started simply because I saw on the show a place called, Leo’s BBQ. I went that one and the rest is history. I have now been to more than 70!). I also met up with friends along the way, celebrated my birthday with them, which was the best part of the whole trip.

I have 11 more states to visit to complete this goal:

  1. Alaska
  2. Delaware
  3. Idaho
  4. Iowa
  5. Kentucky (going there in August to present at a library conference)
  6. Montana
  7. North Dakota (possibly in the fall when I present at the South Dakota conference)
  8. South Dakota (going there in the fall for a library conference)
  9. Utah
  10. Wisconsin
  11. Wyoming

My target is to visit 3 more states by the end of the year. Most likely they will be South Dakota, North Dakota, and Kentucky.

2013-03-31 00.13.53
Clockwise from top left corner: at Penguin Drive-ins in Charlotte, NC; South Carolina Welcome Center; North Carolina BBQ; in Mississippi.

Goal #5 Practice yoga in India

The news is, we (the sensory analysis group) will be going to India during the Thanksgiving week this year!! That’s all I know for now. But, soooo excited!!!

Goal #7 Dine at Noma (Chef René Redzepi), Copenhagen, Denmark

Oh I tried. I wanted to go to Copenhagen before my Rome conference. So I tried to make a reservation when their online reservation opened.  The tables on the dates I wanted were booked within minutes. Ugh! I read that there were cases of food poisoning at Noma recently. I was really hoping for cancellations. No such luck. This goal is proving to be quite difficult.

Goal #13 Get tenure

I got my official reappointment letter for 2013-2014! So, yippy! I still have a job.  Two more tenure and promotion reviews to go. If everything goes smoothly, I will go up for tenure in October 2014.

Goal #18 Learn a new word every week and use that word at least 5 times that week

I have been a bit lazy on learning new words. But, still some interesting ones.

hypnopompic (adj) – Of or pertaining to the semiconscious state prior to complete wakefulness.

lollapalooza (noun) – an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event.

bibelot (noun) – a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity.

This is another goal that I am thinking about modifying. I keep forgetting to do it every week. Routine doesn’t work well for me on a long term basis. I am considering changing it to something like, learn 100 new words by my 45th birthday. What do you think?

Goal #19 Learn how to iron a shirt (trousers and jackets would a bonus)

I haven’t started learning it yet but I am starting my research on good tutorials. And I found this awesome one.

Goal #36 Achieve and maintain ideal weight

As of March 14, 2013, I weighed 205.5 lbs, which means I have lost 37.5lbs since Dec.,27,  2011.  The weight loss has slowed down a lot, but I feel that this is the healthy way to get to my target weight range of 180-190lbs.

Disclaimer: I stepped on the scale before my week-long birthday/Spring Break Diners Drive-ins and Dives road trip. I didn’t practice as much yoga since 3/14 because of the crazy schedule of late. It’s very likely that I have to gained a few pounds back. I plan to step on the scale once a month, which will be the week of 4/18. I still have a couple of weeks to get back in shape. 🙂

Goal #43 See Leo Messi play in person

When I was younger, I never got to see Deigo Maradona play in person, and it’s always been a regret. There have been great players since him, but it is only until now that we have Lionel Messi, who could really be compared to Maradona. Messi dribbling in full flight is thing of true  beauty, and I want to see that in person. This goal is listed under “no regrets”.

I will be presenting at a conference in Rome, Italy in June. Messi plays for Barcelona. Barcelona play their final home match (vs Malaga) on June 1st. Most likely, they will have won the league before then, but I think there will be a great celebration at the stadium after the final whistle of the season. Therefore, I am going to Barcelona before my conference (ticket booked!!!). Now, I just need to find a ticket for that match (it’s not easy to come by), and hope that Messi stays injury-free.

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