... 50th birthday plunge
Cynthia Giansiracusa, R.N, who performs monthly blood pressure checkups in Melrose's Elderly Housing for the Boston-Melrose Visiting Nurse Association, recently brought a plethora of snapshots of her most recent outside-of-career adventure. This beautiful, poised, professional person celebrated her 50th birthday recently in an outstanding way...an adventure she'll never forget. The exceptional gift of her own choice was skydiving! She shared the photos and her narration was a descriptive reliving of a remarkable event. As such, it contained every tone of discovery, excitement and gratification.
I'll share with you what I heard.
"I've always wanted to sky-dive and when I turned 50 I decided this was the year I was definitely gong to do it. But unfortuneately my son said, 'No sky-diving this year.' He was engaged and they were going to be getting married two days after my fiftieth birthday, so ... forget the skydiving. That was in November. Now August has arrived and they told me I was going to be a grandmother and my second son announced that he is getting married in a year. So I said, 'You know something? In this family, there is always going to be something that comes up to make me postpone what I (emphasized) want to do. I'm just going to go ahead with my plan and get it out of my system.' So on the spur of the moment, one day I called my husband and told him that I was going to sky-dive that day. I asked him if he wanted to come and watch. He said he was having a busy day, but to go ahead...with his best wishes. 'You know I really don't want you doing this, but you have my blessing.' So I chose to go.
"It was all that, and more than, I expected. I went to Pepperell, MA, near Nashua, New Hampshire. A lawyer talked to me for about 30 minutes so I would know what to expect and what was not the company's responsibility. Then I went outside and they suited me up. There's very little preparation. They told me to arch my back so I wouldn't hurt it. I did. They showed me how to keep my feet and arms bent so they wouldn't intefere with my spinning around. I memorized what they said. It was extremely windy that day and I got on the plane. I went tandem with another gentleman. He said to me, 'Are you ready for this?' I answered, 'I'm more than ready,' and on the count of three, out the plane we went with him up close to my back. I had no hesitation whatsoever. I wanted to do it so badly that the count of three was all I needed.
"I experienced a free-fall for about ten seconds in the atmosphere, then the small parachute was released and, soon after that, the larger parachute blossomed above us. It was an incredible feeling. Just to be up there and look at what was around me. I had wanted to see what it was like to feel like a bird on high. You don't have any fear. You're able to do it! You're just so aware of everything that's around ... it's incredible. I can't say enough about it.
"My biggest fear in this whole thing was the landing process. I had back surgery five years ago so anyone in their right mind wouldn't have done this. I had talked to my doctor about it. He also had a back surgery and was told he would be unable to snow-ski. He now snow-skis and told me in a confident tone that I was responsible for my own decision.
"I landed, not as gracefully as I would have liked, but, thank goodness, I'm here to talk about it. I'd love to do it again, but I don't want to tempt fate. I can say I've done it and someday my grandchild will be able to look at the pictures and say, 'That's my grandmother!'"
Interviewer: How badly did you hurt yourself when you landed?
C.G.: When I fell, I did scrape the outer aspect of my ankle and it did bruise, but because of my adrenelin flowing so much, I never felt the pain until the next day. And I could endure the pain because it was just tenderness.
... I had a friend who came with her camera and I also had a videographer. She jumped also, but I was so engrossed in doing everything I was supposed to do, I never saw her with the video camera out there. I later learned that I was smiling at her and she was taking snapshots. I have a tape and the video is just incredible. Anyone who's watched it has said, 'You must be nuts!'
Interviewer: Was it worth it?
C.G.: It was worth it ... well worth it! I was lucky enough to have a good experience.
Interviewer: What else could we tell this public about?
C.G.: My philosophy about life at fifty is if you want to do something badly enough, go for it. If you just sit back, you'll end up wondering, 'Could I have done this? Should I have done this?' And you're never going to know. This was a dangerous thing, especially for me since I've had back surgery, but if I hadn't done it, I'd always wonder what it would have been like.
Interviewer: You did this when you were 50. Now, what are you going to do when you turn 51?
C.G.: That's a good question. I've para-sailed before. I've always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon. Both of them cannot compare to sky-diving. I'd love to hot-air balloon, but I feel that's going to be a letdown after this sky-diving experience.
... I'm the type of person that if I want to do something, I don't dwell on what the repercussions might be. You must think positive. If you think about what could happen you'd never do anything in life.
Interviewer: Your children are very, very lucky to have you. Do they do things like this?
C.G.: My third son is probably the most adventurous and the oldest one has his pilot's license. I have four boys and they all have their own talents. I could see the third one watching my video and contemplating, 'Someday I'm going to do the same thing.'
September 6, 2002