Not going to happen.
Not on my watch.
For six months, those were my standard responses each time Delaney and Riley asked if we could bungee jump in New Zealand. Even Dale was on their side. It was always three against one. However, as mothers everywhere know, momma always has the final say so. And this momma said, “Not until you’re 18 and can sign the waiver yourself.”
End of discussion.
So how is it that I now find myself with my ankles strapped together, shuffling to the edge of a 2’ x 3’ wooden platform, perched 141 feet above a swiftly moving river?
I guess you could call it the Queenstown effect.
Queenstown, New Zealand is known as the Adventure Capital of the World. It holds this title by offering 220+ adventure activities, more than any other city of its size in the world. Queenstown is one big Fountain of Youth, or Fountain of Stupidity, depending on how you look at it.
It was our third day in Queenstown. We had already experienced the super fun Skyline luge and jet boating, two of the more popular adrenaline producing activities in the area. However, the true badge of honor for an adrenaline junkie, is to bungee jump in Queenstown. The bungee (or bungy in NZ) craze originated on the Karawau Bridge in 1988. In the past 25 years, over 2,000,000 people have earned the bragging rights that come with jumping or diving off the Karawau Bridge.
After much begging and pleading from Delaney that bungee jumping is the only thing she really wants to do in New Zealand, I agree to look into it. Dale and Riley are pumped too. I think they are insane, but with over 2,000,000 successful plunges, I guess it is safe. In fact, it’s probably safer than crossing the street in Vietnam. Unfortunately, a visit to AJ Hackett’s shop in Queenstown left two of my adrenaline junkies disappointed. Neither Dale nor Riley meet their criteria. Dale is rejected due to his two detached ACLs, and Riley doesn’t weigh enough (minimum weight of 77 lbs). They are heartbroken.
Delaney, on the other hand, is more excited than I’ve ever seen her. “Giddy” doesn’t even begin to describe her. I’m left wondering what happened to my daughter who wouldn’t even ride a roller coaster a year ago.
We drive to the bridge early to watch other jumpers before Delaney’s 12:30 appointment. Standing on the observation platform watching people jumping, diving, or flinging themselves off the bridge, I think to myself, “It doesn’t look that bad.”
Meanwhile, tears of disappointment stream down Riley’s cheeks. Dale would be crying, too, if it was socially acceptable. Yet here I am, completely able to jump, and I’m just being a big chicken. That’s when I know…if I pass up this opportunity I will regret it for the rest of my life.
My life list of regrets is already long enough. My goal is to stop adding to that list.
I have two choices before me:
1) I can choose to be afraid, or 2) I can choose to live life without regrets.
I choose option 2.
Fear is a funny thing. Once I decide that I won’t give in to fear, fear loses all its power.
Now I’m standing on the famous Karawau Bridge, feeling slightly geriatric as I’m surrounded by people half my age. However, I don’t feel old; I feel alive. The rush that comes from getting out of my comfort zone is intoxicating. As the Jump Master wraps a towel around my ankles and binds them with a strap, I ask “So how old is the oldest person who has ever jumped?”
Wow. How cool is that?! That’s the kind of life I want to live. That’s living life all the way to the end. That’s living without regrets.
And with that inspiration in my head, I shuffle to the edge of the platform, give a Hunger Games salute to my family, spread my wings and soar like an eagle.