When I stand at launch and look over the edge, I can’t keep one thought from my head. I always think, If something goes wrong, I could die.
This doesn’t stop me from flying, but it makes me think twice. It makes me weigh the risk and reward one more time. Sometimes it has even led me to not fly.
Death has been on my mind a lot lately. In the past ten days, we’ve lost two family members. It has made death much more real for me.
Whether it’s paragliding or driving a car, the chance for something to go horribly wrong is always there. Most of us aren’t constantly thinking about it, but subconsciously it’s ingrained in our minds.
The idea of death is scary for many of us to deal with, even if it is just in your subconscious. Different people react to this in different ways.
For me, the subconscious knowledge of death leads me to take less risk. It makes me decide whether it is worth it to fly, or to drive in bad weather.
I know people who disregard death, thinking it will never happen to them. They drive too fast or text behind the wheel. There is a trend on the internet of daredevils hanging off of buildings or high structures. They risk death for a picture or video on social media. Recently, one of them fell to his death on camera after attempting pull-ups off of the side of a skyscraper.
There are others who avoid risk at all cost. Being comfortable and safe is paramount to all. These people miss out on experiences that will make life-long memories. I’ve found that some of my favorite moments have come from taking risks.
Death is scary. It drives us to act irrationally in either extreme. But if you can avoid the extremes, it gives you a great opportunity to weigh the risks and rewards. The thoughts about death allow me to make tough decisions about whether or not to fly, drive, or take risk.