• Pushing the Envelope

Some people push the envelope,
Some people lick the seal,
And some people can’t find the flap.

- from a bumper sticker on a car in Boulder.

As I mentioned, Richard, Malaika and I spent a week at Snowbird, Utah. It was great to see family and Malaika enjoyed spending time with her cousins. We went hiking, swimming, played games and made crafts. But I still kept thinking about that bumper sticker I saw. I felt that I was spending too much time “licking the seal” and not enough time “pushing the envelope”.

“Pushing the envelope” was originally an aviation term for taking an aircraft to design limits and then some. Now it also means getting out of your comfort zone. So that was exactly what I did; got out of my comfort zone. The first thing I tried was wall-climbing. There is a huge climbing wall at the Cliff Lodge, where we were staying;11 stories. Most of the kids tried it and got to the top; Richard tried it and got about a quarter of the way up. Then I decided I was going to try it. I had to climb a rope ladder to the first step. And that step was really hard and I didn’t have the strength to make it. But it was okay, I tried and the belayer encouraged me to push off the wall, swing and let him lower me down. That was what I needed.

A couple of days later we decided it was going to be “all-activity pass day”. I was the only adult that got an all- activity pass. And I made the most of it. The first thing I did was try to “baby wall”, only about 20 feet. I got half way up it!. And I had a lot of fun swinging down. Next I got on the bungee trampoline and bounced up and down as high as I could; with the bungee that’s fairly high. Then I went down the Alpine Slide. Malaika said I was going too slow, but the speed I was going was pushing the envelope for me!

However, I saved the best for last, the Zip Line. My niece Katie and I were together for this. She was my buddy most of the day. As we got toward the top and it was getting to be our turn, I started to get scared, but I was not going to back out. Finally, it was our turn to get strapped in the harness. I put my feet against the gate, straightened my legs, the gate opened and I was off. For about 2 seconds I was absolutely terrified, then I had the most wonderful feeling of freedom and flight I could imagine. I spread my arms out and flew. It was wonderful and now I am a zipline junkie. But what if I hadn’t pushed the envelope? I could have just kept licking the seal and I would have missed a wonderful day and I would never have known what I was capable of. This week, push the envelope a little. You never know where you can go unless you get out of your comfort zone.

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