Taking Flight

This morning I flew. Like, actually flew. My feet left the ground and I flew through the air unsupported by anything and in no way connected to the ground. It was pure delight.

It might sound like I’ve lost my marbles, but let me explain. For my birthday, my husband bought our family iFly tickets. iFly is an indoor skydiving experience, in which you get to avoid the whole terrifying falling out of the plane part and just fly.

I won’t go into great detail about the whole process. Basically, you book your flight; show up; get outfitted with a jumpsuit, helmet and goggles; line up along the flight deck; and get ready to fly.

The instructor teaches you how to enter the wind tunnel by tipping forward onto your stomach and allowing the wind to take you aloft. It’s counter-intuitive at first (I felt like I was about to fall on my face) but then the wind grabs you and you’re flying! There’s really nothing like it. It’s like sprouting wings.

The instructor guides you as you get used to navigating the airspace (and also makes sure you don’t crash into the walls). Ours didn’t hang on – just let us fly and course corrected as needed.

I cannot fully describe the glee of flying, completely unsupported. It was glorious. I learned how to use my hands to shift back and forth in the airstream, and how to curve my torso to rise up or lower down. It was like something out of a dream. The whole time, all I could think was, I’m actually flying!!!!

Even better was watching my family each taking their turn to fly. As I watched them soaring around the chamber, I was overwhelmed with this profound sense of joy. What a glorious time we live in, that these kids can experience the glory of individual flight on a random Friday morning. It’s miraculous.

As we were getting ready, my 14-year-old was telling me how the preparation reminded him of the shark dive he did a few years ago for his birthday. Again, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude at how blessed we are to live in a time when these phenomenal experiences are available. When the kids were little, we did presents on Christmases and birthdays, but as we’ve all grown, we’ve shifted to more experiences, those unique things that spark our curiosity. It’s been the most phenomenal transition – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After our first flight, we did a second round of “high flying.” For this, the instructor takes hold of your jumpsuit handles and jumps into the air with you. Then he raises you all the way up to the top of the chamber, 20-30 feet at least, and you spin around and around together, faster and faster, in this wild tornado. I laughed so hard.

As I watched my kids soar around the chamber, I was again gripped by the most unadulterated glee. It was this almost existential, deeply spiritual experience. I actually started to tear up at the bliss of it all, fogging my goggles a little in the process.

What a glorious, glorious time.

It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony and frustration of daily life – especially during the pandemic. But there’s nothing like taking flight, to help leave it all behind.

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