Taking the Plunge

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Everybody has moments in their life that they will forever remember; moments that don’t just come as a memory, but fill the mind and body with emotion when remembered. It could be the moment you fall in love with your forever partner, the moment you give birth to your child, the moment you made the team, the moment you lost a loved one, or the moment you finally won the race. Planned or unplanned, big or small, there are moments in our life that change us in unexpected ways. These are the moments we will sit on our rocking chairs and tell our grandchildren about one day.

Recently, I was lucky enough to take part in an experience that is rocking chair story worthy. With the support of a couple ropes, some metal links, and a crazy bar metal apparatus, I rappelled down the 28 stories of theWit Hotel in Chicago. When my alarm went off the morning I was scheduled to rappel, I woke-up feeling nervous because I had never done anything remotely close to rappelling down the side of a skyscraper before. I decided not to eat because even though I’d be flying in the air like a bird, I’m sure if I pooped my pants I couldn’t pass it off as bird poop. The moment I arrived at theWit Hotel my nervousness changed to excitement rather quickly. My family was there to cheer me on and the amazing people of Skyline Plunge, Respiratory Health Association, and theWit were extremely supportive and encouraging. Furthermore, Skyline Plunge had briefly acquainted me with other people rappelling on social media so I had the support of a few new friends.

After I successfully passed the practice round of plunging down about 30 feet and I was given all the safety instructions, I made my way to the roof. I watched as other people rappelling walked to the edge, popped over the side and were never seen again. My body was full of excitement and I couldn’t wait for my turn. When they called my name I walked up and I felt my body begin to shake. The people strapping me into the ropes were so great at keeping me calm, but after I was strapped in I leaned over the edge of the building and considered backing out. I took a deep breath though and reminded myself why I was here; it was time to face my fear! I took the step off the edge of the building and felt myself floating in mid-air and in that moment I realized I had never felt more scared and more alive in my life.

The overwhelming feeling of life stirring inside of me got me moving and foot by foot for 278 feet I made my way down the side of theWit Hotel all by myself. Each movement I made downward was exhilarating and self-confidence building. A little past the halfway point I heard the crowd of people lined up on State Street cheering for me and the smile on my face grew even bigger. I could hear my aunt whistling, my mom screaming “I love you,” and complete strangers clapping for me. Hearing them made me realize how lucky I am. Although, I had to face my own fear I always had the support of people around me. No matter what you want to do in life, no matter how crazy it may seem to others, go out and do it; face your fear, live your dream, and do what makes you happy. People may call you crazy for doing it, but when they see how happy you are they will be the best supporters.

Sign up for the May 2014 plunge here: Skyline Plunge

Thanks to the Respiratory Health Association, Skyline Plunge, Over the Edge USA & theWit Hotel for putting together this amazing event!

A very special thanks to my personal supporters Freebie App, My Deal TV, Modern Problems Radio, Francesca’s Fancy Flops, Rockin’ Ray’s Photo Adventures, Mom & Dad, Kathleen Chmura, Tracie Hitz, Duane Grant, Jeannette Pawula, & Dorlene Voyta.

Photos provided by Sooz Main, Grit Photography, Eyes Open Photography & my dad


jillian erica



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Jillian Conley

About Jillian Conley

Author of Maid of Honor, Dating Chase Walker, Time for Audrey Buchanan & the Coffee Table Quotes collection. Blogger giving life advice through stories. Co-founder of My Three Sisters Publishing. TV Host Social Chicago. Radio Host Love Code on Modern Problems Radio Show.

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6 Responses to Taking the Plunge

  1. Kris September 10, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    You are brave! Congratulations on overcoming your fear!

  2. LeAnna September 10, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    I want to do this! So cool.

    • Jennie Szink September 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      Hi LeAnna, this is Jennie, Respiratory Health Association’s marketing and communications coordinator. If you’re in Chicago, join us for our next rappel on May 4! Contact me: jszink@lungchicago.org

  3. Anonymous September 10, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    very cool

  4. Sandi September 10, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    This seems like a really unique event. Is it only in Chicago?

    • Jennie Szink September 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Hi Sandi, this is Jennie, Respiratory Health Association’s marketing and communications coordinator. Rappel events by Over the Edge are in cities around the country, but only the one in Chicago benefits Respiratory Health Association! Contact me: jszink@lungchicago.org