Flying Felix gets it wrong
Kids are idolising the man who fell from space, but for the wrong reasons.
Felix Baumgartner: The world sat hunched over laptops and TV screens as he sat in his balloon on the edge of space. We were on the edge of our seats, wondering if he’d survive the longest fall to earth. As he leaned over and dropped into the void, kids across the world cried out in unison- “I want to do that!” but, oddly, they already have...

Taking the plunge

Felix’s impressive feat not only broke records, but the sound barrier on his brief and nerve-wracking drop from where the sky begins. I looked at that, and thought, it’s a little like being born.

There you are, a baby, tucked safely into your womb-balloon after months of preparation. You can’t go up any more, and there’s only one way down- to slip into the world- falling gracefully into the unknown, maybe hitting one or two wobbly patches on the way out, but breaking a sound barrier of your own as the shockingly cold air buffets against your human flesh for the first time.


This is where Felix gets it all wrong: According to News24, now that he’s completed his leap to earth, he’s retiring: “There’s nothing else for me to achieve”, he reportedly said. “I have no energy left”. He’s 43-years-old.

For a baby, after you’ve left your balloon where everything is designed to protect you from the unknown, your journey is only beginning. It’s exhausting, being born, but the whole point of landing on earth is that you have EVERYTHING to achieve.

The brief flight of birth has probably been your parent’s focus for months, now, and suddenly they’re holding you- you’re all slightly stunned. You look into each other’s eyes and wonder, “what comes next?”

Retirement? No, your life of exploration, discovery, boundary-making and breaking is only just beginning. Good luck, baby, your balloon is ready to set you free...

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Do you agree that parents sometimes focus too much on birth rather than actually having a baby?

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