4 Valuable Life Lessons I Learned From Jumping Out of a Plane

4 Valuable Life Lessons I Learned From Jumping Out of a Plane

By: Krystal Penrose


I’m dangling out of an airplane 2.7 miles in the air, and I’ve got “Dave the Dark Side” strapped to my back.

He tells me that he’s going to count to three, and we’re jumping.

There’s no looking back now.

1….2…. and before we even get to 3, I’m spinning, flipping and soaring through the air at a mere 120 miles per hour. It’s almost like riding the wild winds of a tornado.

There’s no feeling in this world that comes close to jumping out of a plane. Especially when you’re terrified of heights.

Skydiving, for me, was not just some thrill-seeking activity. I had been experiencing a “lull” in my life… a bad case of the 9-5 syndrome.

I was so caught up in life, I forgot to live.

You know that feeling, right?

It was about time I did something to challenge myself. So, I decided to do something that would scare the life out of me, and then hopefully bring it back in a burst. I went skydiving!

While up in the air, here’s a few valuable life lessons I learned:

1.     Get uncomfortable

What makes you uncomfortable? I’m not talking about an old, lumpy bed or tight leather pants. Maybe speaking in front of a group of strangers, or singing karaoke makes you feel out of place. But when you finally challenge yourself, you’re forced to reach deep from within to accomplish it. The result is often life-changing.

Challenging myself to skydive was so much more satisfying than achieving a normal, everyday predictable task. In fact, it inspired me to want to start doing more things I would never dream of doing. It’s funny how a 5 minute activity can change the rest of your life, isn’t it?


2.     Grab fear by the horns

My top 3 fears are creepy crawly creatures, the dark and heights. Which is why when I told my friends I was going, they wondered how I was ever going to jump out of an airplane when I have a hard time actually getting in the plane in the first place.

That’s the funny thing about fear… when I was cold and terrified with my cheeks flapping in the wind, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. For once in my life, I didn’t let my fear stop me from doing something. I more than overcame my fears… I had a blast doing it. Heights? They don’t scare me anymore.

3.     Stop talking and start doing

After my skydiving adventure, every person I talked to said something along the lines of “Wow, I wish I could do that.” My response? You can. It’s much easier to say you’re going to do something, than it is to actually do it. A lot of times, talking about it too much gets in your way.

Why not just do it now? Start by writing a bucket list – I did. I put together a list of 10 things I wanted to absolutely do this summer. And guess what… I can add a “check” next to all of them.

4.     You can’t touch the best things in life

This one is hard because I’ve seen some pretty beautiful sunsets and eaten fantastic food that brought me pure bliss. However, 99.9% of the time, my happiness isn’t based on possessions or things… it’s based on moments.

How many times can you say you’ve jumped out of an airplane? How many times have you laughed until you snorted milk out of your nose? Those moments are rare, but we always remember them, don’t we? Instead of saving up the little money I had to spend on an expensive TV or a designer watch, I saved up to go skydiving and even visited Europe this summer. I have more memories, moments, and laughs stored in my memory from those two adventures than any designer watch or television could bring me.

What would be on your Bucket List?

By | 2012-09-10T05:00:46-07:00 September 10th, 2012|General, Inspiration|16 Comments


  1. Kim Stacey September 10, 2012 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Krystal, you “rock”! I’m so delighted you did this for yourself. What a life-changer; what a game-changer! What you’ve taken away from soaring with “Dave the Dark Side” will color every thought, every action from that day forward. Brilliant move. I’ve been thinking about doing something like that for my 60th birthday – if I can’t afford to travel back to Iran that year (or politics make it impossible), then I may follow your lead. (But, then I have to ask, “why wait?” The next 20 months are not guaranteed to me…thanks for your inspiration, and willingness to share with us.

    I just went to Skydive Monterey Bay (www.skydivemontereybay.com) and discovered that I can do a 15,000 foot free fall jump for less than $200.00! Such a bargain… 🙂

    • Krystal September 10, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Thanks, Kim! It was SUCH a wonderful experience… definitely unlike any other feeling in this world!

      I would highly consider doing something like that for your 60th birthday, and for that price? Wow that’s awesome!

  2. Kari Lyn Leslie September 10, 2012 at 9:23 am - Reply

    How inspiring!! I too am terrified of heights, and have serious issues with flying. Your blog is fantastic, and I’m so proud of you. I know how much it took for you to jump out of a perfectly good plane. LOL! I wish I could say you have inspired me to take the dive, but I will continue finding my JOY in OTHER moments. Thank you for joining our Blog this month, you have inspired me to compose a Bucket List for myself, sans the skydiving!


    • Krystal Penrose September 11, 2012 at 6:38 am - Reply

      Thanks Kari! Although I didn’t inspire you to make the jump, I’m happy to hear that you plan to create a bucket list for yourself! Turns out when you write down your goals in life, you’re more likely to achieve them! Thank you again for having me, I look forward to guest blogging in the future 🙂

  3. Mollykeating September 10, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

    I applaud you in this, Krystal! What an amazing feat. I realized in reading your post that I so often settle myself down in my fears & dismiss so many ideas & opportunities because I am simply afraid of them and don’t want to take the risk. While I don’t see myself jumping out of a plane any time soon I feel challenged to look at parts of my life where I’m holding myself back from a truly life-changing experience. Your courage, zeal & desire to push yourself are truly inspiring qualities. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

    • Krystal Penrose September 10, 2012 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Aww thanks Molly! It’s hard to set your fears aside – but you’re so much bigger than them! For me, heights were scary, but going through life letting my own shadow stand in the way is even scarier. Once you realize that, you’ll surprise yourself with what you set out to achieve.

      Right after I went skydiving, I visited an amusement park and was surprised by how fearlessly I could approach the same roller coasters that I’ve always been too scared to ride!

  4. Lori September 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    I also have a fear of heights. I had a blind date many years ago and he surprised me with a hot air balloon ride. As we reached our destination I thought, “How am I going to get out of this!!!” I am so glad I did not “get out of it”. It ended being one of the greatest experiences that I remember to this day.
    I love your idea of saving for experiences instead of things. I used to value things.
    I thought I had to have designer clothes and the best of everything. All that left me with is a large credit card balance.
    The older I get the more I value the time I spend with people.
    One of the first items on my bucket list would be returning to Europe. I have not been since I was in my twenties.
    Thank you for your story and the inspiration!!

    • Krystal Penrose September 11, 2012 at 6:42 am - Reply

      Wow Lori I’m proud of you for also facing your fears! You really are larger than any fear you have. I recently lost 2 of my good friends – 21 and 22 years old, and that was a real eye opener for me to start living my life instead of just talking about living it.

      And I hope you do get the chance to return to Europe soon! If you do, make sure you go to Cinque Terre… it’s one of the most beautiful places in Italy 🙂

      • Lori September 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm - Reply

        It is my goal to spend more time in Italy when I go. I only saw Venice.
        Thank you for the suggestion!

        • Krystal Penrose September 12, 2012 at 6:12 am - Reply

          Oh, Italy… how wonderful it is! If you go to Rome or Tuscany, make sure you’re not on a diet!

  5. Anne September 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    How nice to have you blog with us!! I don’t think I shall ever jump out of a plane either, but that would not be on my bucket list. The scariest thing I ever did, although I felt ok and “protected” somehow at the time was to climb down into the sewers under the streets of Bucharest Romania and visit and pray with a family who called it home. I had to trust total strangers who stole from one another and worse to survive, to help me in and out of it because of the distance between the top iron rung and the street. It was too far to hoist myself and it was about 11 at night and no one’s faces were that clear, but I will never forget the love and energy that flowed between our hands as we said a prayer together in that hole. Bucharest was my airplane jump. I will always cherish those weeks.

    • Krystal Penrose September 12, 2012 at 6:42 am - Reply

      Anne, that sounds like such a rare, powerful experience that only comes around once in a lifetime! Isn’t it wild how the biggest risks bring the biggest rewards? Thank you for your comment – glad to hear you’ve taken your airplane jump 🙂

  6. Neil O'Connor September 12, 2012 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Krystal – BRAVO! Great life post! You are inspiring me to live a more full life. My bucket list is my self development in becoming a better husband, father, friend and CEO. I have found great joy of doing things that most people do not want to do, talking to complete strangers, becoming a better listener and facing your fears. Life will only reward us if we truly are wiling to live with changes. We all have the ability to change what ever is going on in our life, you have made my ponder my next fearless change. Cheers!

    • Krystal Penrose September 13, 2012 at 6:23 am - Reply

      Thank you very much, Neil! What a great bucket list… working to be the best person you’re capable of being is the greatest joy you can find. I can’t wait to find out what your next fearless challenge will be 🙂

  7. Carrie Bayer September 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Krystal, this is an amazing reminder of how to break out of our shell & do things to enrich our lives. I love it! I have always had a bucket list that I revise on occasion. Jumping out of a plane is not on the list since Im terrified of heights but there are many other things on the list that I look forward to doing. And many of them will make me very uncomfortable but that is the beauty of doing them! Thank you so much! Carrie

    • Krystal Penrose September 13, 2012 at 6:26 am - Reply

      Carrie, glad to hear that you’ve also made a bucket list! They really do help you make the most of life, and when you get to cross something off of them? That’s the greatest feeling in the world! Thanks for the comment, and I wish you luck in conquering all of those challenges!