South Carolina-native Dodie Bruening takes being a great-grandmother to new heights.
The 85-years-old showed that she's not afraid to take the plunge, skydiving out of an airplane to celebrate her birthday on Oct. 21.
“I’m still floating from yesterday. I’m flying high. I haven’t gotten my feet back on the ground,” Bruening told ABC News of her 14,000-foot jump. “It’s just an absolutely out of this world, outstanding, euphoric experience. I wish everyone could feel what I felt.”
This wasn’t the whippersnapper’s first time flying high, however. She went skydiving for her 84th birthday, too.
“No one can believe the things I do, but I do them because it’s cake,” she said matter-of-factly. “I’m not really old, age is just a number.”
This year’s jump was “Absolutely better than last year,” Bruening explained, “because I knew what to expect.”
“Last time I wasn’t afraid, I was excited, but a little apprehensive,” she said. “This time I had an idea of what was going to happen and I could just relax and enjoy it. It was outstanding. What else can I say?”
The great-grandmother clearly doesn’t have a fear of heights. Skydiving has been on her bucket list ever since she was a little girl growing up in the 1930s.
“The higher I go, the closer I am to heaven and my husband,” she said. “It’s like you’re floating. You’re just riding along, and I don’t have words. It’s wonderful. It’s just an out of this world experience.”
When asked what her secret to staying young was, Bruening’s reply was simple: “I don’t have a secret. I never smoked, I never did drink and I was always active. I’m not going to go until God’s ready for me. He‘s going to leave me here to continue making people smile for as long as I can.”
She doesn’t plan to go skydiving for her 86th birthday, but only because she wants to try something new.
“I promised them if I live to be 95, I’ll be back,” she told her skydiving comrades yesterday at Skydive Carolina in Chester, South Carolina. “I think I might do something different next year. I might buy jet skis and go roaring down the lake.”
And as for her advice to those thinking they’re too old to do something?
“Age should never hinder you. It’s just a number,” said Bruening. “We can do what we want to do. No matter who they are, how old they are, or what they’ve done in life, if they want to do something, just do it. Go on and do it. Time is fleeting for all of us. Every day is a day loss if we don’t do something we want to do.”
Fortunately for this smiling senior, she’s wasting no time.
“It was an awesome, awesome time yesterday,” she said. “I want to thank God for giving me a beautiful day to go soaring again.”
Bruening, also an avid poet, wrote a poem capturing her birthday extravaganza in her own words. Take a look at her creative retelling below.
“Sky Dive Number Two” By Dodie Bruening
Last year I did my first sky dive when I turned 84, I did what some can only dream, jumped from a plane to soar. My life changed in an instant as I lived life at its best, Free falling through the space around I felt I’d passed a test. My heart and soul were full of love for all I did behold, The beauty that surrounded me, in words, cannot be told. And I made this promise to myself “If I am still alive, I will go sky diving again when I turn 85.” Well, a year has passed, my friend, and it’s time for me to say, “Take me up to soar again on my eighty-fifth birthday.” All my friends and family say I am too old to go, But few of them have lived this long so they’re too young to know. That when you are as old as I with things you want to do, Your age is just a number that should never hinder you. So take me up to soar again and get out of my way, I’m jumping from a plane again on my eighty-fifth birthday. And while I’m up there soaring high I’ll wave to those above, Who have gone before me and are watching me with love. If I can keep on living I might l try to get my kicks, By doing something different when I turn 86. Maybe buy a jet ski and go roaring down the lake or, Surprise a friend on their birthday by jumping from their cake. No matter what I choose to do, or where life might take me, At Skydive Carolina is where my heart will be.