At 8 years old with pig tails, my grandmother took my family and me to the Grand Canyon. I scarcely left the car I was so frightened of falling into the vast pit. I imagined myself slipping on the loose gravel and stumbling, losing my balance and toppling, someone would bump me and oops it’s all over. No, I was not going to get even close to the edge. My personal edge of comfort was looking at the fossils in the museum far removed from the danger that lurked at the cliff’s rim.
Years would go by like this. I couldn’t be bothered to go on a roller coaster- far too risky. What if I fell out, the seatbelt was too loose? Or the track broke or the operator went mad and sent us into warp speed until my brains turned to mush??
For most of my childhood, my fear of heights kept my feet grounded to the earth far from any cliff edge. It wasn’t until I turned 13 that I had a desire to test the narrow boundaries of my comfort zone. Something must have been in my cotton candy on the night I tried my first roller coaster. Something far more compelling than the voice of fear grabbed me and sent racing from line to line trying every whizzing and whirling coaster machine at the small town fair. And, just like that I made not a small bound but a giant leap into the fascinating world of heights packed with an adrenaline rush of life.
Since my initial plunge into adventure I’ve found great pleasure on high mountain tops as well as huge coaster rides. The pleasure, I feel, comes from the slight aversion that still has its place in my natural tendency towards self preservation. So, it is in reaching this always changing edge of comfort that I experience full vitality.
Recently, I tip toed my way to the cliff’s edge overlooking Bondi Beach, Australia. I met my edge of comfort reaching my arms up to the sky, waves crashing below, wind blowing, and the unknown beneath my feet and beyond my complete control. I exhaled, looked skyward and with my whole being alive, let go.