What makes an Adrenaline Junkie?
I’ve often been called an “adrenaline junkie” probably because just some of my pastimes have included skydiving, rock climbing, speedflying, (like paragliding but on a smaller wing) snowboarding & skiing. 14 years ago I left a sensible job to chase a career as a skydiving instructor, the kind of leap of faith that Ruth blogged about here. I never regretted it for a second! Now I earn a living by abseiling out of 65 metre high wind turbines. I’ve also worked as a rope access inspector on offshore oil rigs, so I guess it’s hard to deny I have a taste for adventure.
I often wonder where did this come from? I didn’t grow up with a dad who was Tony Hawks or a mother who was big wall climbing in Yosemite (those of you who know my mother will be in hysterics at thought of the very glamorous Monica climbing Half Dome) No, I grew up with normal parents in a normal semi-d, like most everyone else in the 70’s and 80’s in Ireland. There might have been hints of my adventurous spirit evident during my childhood. My Dad was fishing back then and during my summer holidays, while he was availing of the free (or at least cheap) child labour, I often pleaded with him to turn the corner out of the relatively safe estuary and take the boat for a spin around the rough seas at Hook Head. Once in a while he would oblige, and I loved it. But other than that, and a penchant for hanging out in trees and on roofs there was no indication I was going to live a life in the pursuit of adrenaline, although my mother does like to blame the long line of fishermen that I come from.
For those of you not involved in an adventure sport it might be assumed that adrenaline junkies have a death wish, that they throw themselves at dangerous situations like it’s going out of fashion but in fact, it’s the complete opposite. My fellow climbers and skydivers take great care in things like gear maintenance, practicing moves, planning routes or skydives, training & diet.
Discipline and hard work go more hand in hand with adrenaline sports than death wishes & devil may care attitudes.
Where’s the freedom in that? Well, the freedom comes from the one skill that all these sports require… the skill to overcome your fears. Mastering fear can be a life-long journey for some, and for others it comes quickly, but it’s at the heart of everything we do!
You need that skill when you are in the doorway of a plane, about to leap – or on the crux of a tough climb – and no matter who else is actually there, ultimately you are alone in your own head giving yourself a pep talk, doing breathing exercises, or whatever ritual you have that gets you through. This is a fantastic skill that transfers very well into every part of your life, it helps you deal with fear from whatever angle it comes at you, it helps you put situations into perspective and it helps you to quickly learn how to identify your fear and worries, deal with them & move on.
Living in fear is stifling and repressive; facing it head on and dealing with it is the ultimate freedom.
So get out there, find something that challenges you, pick something that interests you but also scares you a little and when you conquer that fear, enjoy it, take some moments to bask in the glory and when fear pops its head up again in your day to day life – remember the warrior you were that day, and deal with it head on.
Erica (Princess Badass Bitch)