I had considered going skydiving for about ten years but had always found an excuse not to do it: “Oh, I can’t afford it right now,” or “I’ve got bingo arms, they’ll look bad in the photos”. So when I finally booked it, I found the best coping mechanism was to ignore the fact that this would potentially be my last month on earth.

D-Day arrives. I turn up at North Wollongong beach in a blissfully ignorant state. I check in at the office, step into a pair of oversized marching band pants, get my harness fitted and go through the safety instructions – all I can remember is that I must position my body to look like a banana.

At the airport my tandem instructor Wade double-checks everything before we pile into the tiny blue plane. As we ascend I forget that I’m sitting on a strange man’s lap and am about to jump out of a plane; I actually enjoy the fantastic view over Wollongong.

It’s at the five minute pre-jump warning that I start to pack shit.

We reach 14,000 feet where it’s nothing but cloud. The plane’s side door opens and the first tandem skydivers quickly disappear. With only 10 seconds between jumps there’s no time to decide whether I want to go through with this.

Wade and I, harnessed together for better or worse, slide our legs out the door and take a selfie. I’m so focused on perfecting the banana move that I forget to smile.

Wade counts down, then we’re out the door, free-falling through cloud at over 200 kilometres per hour. I try to calmly breathe but I can’t stop screaming and my thoughts excitedly race everywhere. It’s such an intense rush that I struggle to process it as being real; I couldn’t have imagined skydiving would be so thrilling.

After 60 seconds of free-fall the parachute opens up just as we emerge from the clouds. We are then treated to stunning views of Wollongong, from Mount Keira to the beach.

“Welcome to my office” says Wade.

We float around for five minutes, upright like Mary Poppins, with every twist and turn of the parachute giving different views of the impressive Australian coastline.

For the rest of the day I’m clapping in excitement and nothing can wipe the smile off my face.

Packages start from $269. See: skydivethebeach.com.au