I started jumping just a little over three years ago and I feel that I've
already gone through the range of emotions and atitudes that others
have already mentioned. For the first year that I was jumping, I spent
practically every waking minute at the DZ. When I wasn't jumping I was
thinking about it. My personal situation was almost ideal. I'd come into
some extra money to pay for equipment and jumps, I had an extremely supportive
and encouraging wife, I had no kids to worry about, I lived within 15 minutes
drive of the DZ, and I met and jumped with an interesting and fun group of
After about 18 months, things started to sour. I was starting to get burned
out on the "politics" at the DZ. I became more aware of the other things
that I wasn't doing like maintaining the house or riding my motorcycle. On
the skydiving end, I'd come to a plateau of sorts. I knew I had a lot more
to learn but progress wasn't coming quick enough. In addition to my own
feelings, my wife was getting tired of being by herself on every sunny day
(and quite a few cloudy ones). Reading and visiting friends only went
so far. After all we were supposed to be married. My wife half-jokingly
suggested that I have my mail forwarded to the DZ or to work, since I spent
more time at either place than I did at home.
What resulted from this situation has not only improved my personal life
but has actually helped keep the sport fresh and exciting. I cut back
the amount of time that I spend at the DZ to specific days. I know that
I'll get to jump a couple of times a week and my wife knows I'll be around
for her the rest of the time. Now when I get to the DZ, I can't wait
to get in the air. I don't feel guilty about leaving my wife alone or
not living up to my other committments because I know I've set time aside
to do them.
So overall, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm spending enough time at the
DZ to get my "fix" but not so much that I'm getting burned out. With
just over 900 jumps I'm making better quality skydives with equally or better
skilled jumpers and I'm also making jumps with lesser experienced jumpers
in an attempt to improve their skills. I'll probably make 250 jumps this year,
which for the Pacific NorthWET is pretty good. On the personal side, I have
put aside time to meet my committments, participate in other ("whuffo")
type recreation, and most importantly spend time with my wife.
Sure it's still tough to leave the DZ after an especially good Saturday
and knowing that I won't be coming out on Sunday. On the rare times
that I do come out on Sunday, it rarely lives up to my expectations.
I don't want to get to the point where a spend a day just doing a series
of forgetable skydives, ie. going through the motions.
What it all boils down to is balance (as others have pointed out). When
I was younger it seemed that I had all kinds of time to fill. Now that
I'm older and with more committments it seems that the only way I can
keep semi-sane is to schedule my time, even my "free/recreational" time.
Skydiving's a great sport and I can't imagine not jumping, but I've
learned the hard way that you can get too much of a good thing.