Senior Living: Freefalling from 14,000 Feet

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active adult senior livingJames Burns only had one thought running through his head as he looked over the rolling fields of Pennsylvania from 14,000 feet above the ground.

“There’s no turning back now,” the 73-year old recalled thinking before he jumped out of the plane. “I wouldn’t have gone out the door if I wasn’t strapped to someone’s back.”

The day of the skydiving trip, his sons Jimmy, Brendan and Billy, as well as his grandson, Michael, decided they’d give him the honor of jumping out of the airplane first.

“They gave me the signal to pull the cord, but I guess I missed it,” he said with a laugh. “Good thing the instructor was with me to catch my mistake.”

He called the freefall “sensational,” and said he even became used to the powerful wind howling past his face. His view of the farms and other rural areas were breathtaking, and once the parachute opened, the rest of his descent was a breeze.

The semi-retired veterinarian’s philosophy on aging is refreshingly simple. Thinking young, constantly challenging himself and, of course, partaking in exciting activities with his 5 children and 12 grandchildren has kept him remarkably young at heart.

Skydiving wasn’t the first adrenaline-fueled activity that has piqued his interest. He also enjoys fishing, hunting deer, and playing sports. Earlier in life, the Rockville MD. resident flew airplanes, went diving and enjoyed going on ski trips.

“I do a lot of those things because I fear them and they’re challenging,” he said.

James said he endured a lot of lighthearted teasing from his sons, all between the ages of 39 and 45, about being a geezer in a skydiving suit.

“They kept not telling me to worry about the age restrictions, they knew I was old enough,” he said, laughing.

For his next endeavor, Jim plans to take his grandson flying on a biplane-a four-winged aircraft that is capable of acrobatics.

“When you slow down you die,” he said. “You’ve got to stay in shape.”

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