Years ago, I ran down a mountain and flew like a bird.

Paragliding is probably the most dangerous thing I have ever done and certainly one of most thrilling experiences of my life. Once the wind catches your parachute, you can stay aloft for hours, riding on drafts. If it’s a sunny day, the earth is warmer and keeps you up longer.

The way it felt as the air lifted the parachute, taking my feet from the ground…the fear and exhilaration as I scotched back to sit properly….the wonder as I looked around at the world, seeing it for the first time like this…wind rushing at my face, causing my eyes to water…that stir within my chest….the EXACT feeling – that’s gone.

If I could bottle it, I would open it up every day, take a sip and stay young forever.

Glorious. Just like the start of every new relationship. I recently began dating Kevin, who has been my friend for several months. Friend or stranger, I’ve been sipping on the bottle called “New Relationship.”
Tasty. There’s nothing like the rush you get each time you see the person, as if the past 48 hours was 48 years. Staring into each other’s eyes, smiling at every sweet thing he does.

With paragliding, I remember only that I LOVED it and I want to do it again. It’s on my list of 2009 goals. Last time I was nervous, but not scared. This time, I’m older. I’m less naïve. Those sharp rocks I ran past down the mountain loom larger. I can feel the fear of hurting myself, the fear of the parachute failing. The bitter truth of all that could go wrong stares me in the face.

I got dumped twice in three months last year. “Bitter Truth” is a tough mixer with “New Relationship.” I can taste it each time I kiss him. I can feel myself holding back, scared of the possible pain.

It is glorious to taste that new relationship elixir again. I know I want it, but am I ready? If I keep sipping, will the bitter truth taste in my mouth rinse clean?

I’m lucky that Kevin is understanding and is ok with taking it slow. And in the end, my optimistic philosophy is that I will sail on somehow no mater what happens in my life. Life is full of risks. You can’t hide from all of them.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to run down the hill with your parachute, cross your fingers and hope for a strong drafts and sunshine.