Could it have been any better timed? Sunday, 6pm. The ultimate hour of melancholy. And yet there, live, in front of us all was a man living the ultimate dream, his ultimate dream. 24 miles above us a man we did not know.
For 90 minutes I'd watched the ascent with an air of separation. Who is this? What is he trying to prove? Yet with minutes to go I was hit by a sense of clarity and envy. Oh to live with such a clear dream and goal in life. This was not the usual achievements we so admire, not a Usain Bolt type moment or a man making the most of god given physical abilities. No, this was a man like you and I. A man who decided to follow a dream. A dream few knew about until recent weeks, but with every inch that balloon raised, thousands upon thousands joined his journey. As he stepped out of the capsule my family froze silent in awe at was about to happen, silenced in a way the false theatre of TV so desperately tries to replicate.
With every inch that balloon raised, thousands upon thousands joined his journey.
Silenced in envy that as I was about to settle down and morbidly prepare for another week in the office, this guy, this stranger, was igniting dreams that would last a lifetime for kids all over the world. In an instance I realised why Neil Armstrong was so mourned this year. I had always judged him on his feat, I didn't realise until last night that it wasn't the feat, it was the proof to an entire generation that it can be done, anything can be done, if you believe and you try.
And then he was gone. He didn't so much as fall but was sucked down to earth. The footage from those first 30 seconds showing the full force and majestic power of gravity. Yet he had been there. To land safely, to land and walk back on earth was incredible but it was not the lesson. The lesson was to dream, to ascend, to go as high as your dreams wish to take you.
Me, well I need to define those dreams and set those goals. My life will have a purpose and I hope one day, somewhere, following some achievement, someone will ask, 'how did you do that? What made you chase that dream?' and I am pretty sure that journey will be mapped back to a starting point of Felix Baumgartner and last night's incredible, incredible event. Thank you for that Felix.
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