The Karman Lineby Wendy Gladney on 11/19/19
I recently watched a show on television where a man had to make a critical decision regarding the health of his wife. His wife had studied and prepared her entire life for the opportunity to go into space as an astronaut. She was experiencing some dizziness and when rushed to the hospital she was told that she may have a specific disease that could impede her from ever going into space because it affected her equilibrium. The doctor went on to share that there was a procedure they could perform that could possibly heal her, but he could not guarantee it. The wife wanted the surgery, but her husband was against it because it had possible negative effects. However, when he looked into his wife’s eyes and saw her determination, he knew he had to surrender. He went on to say he loved her to the Karman Line.
When I heard him say this it really intrigued me. I had never heard that phrase. I immediately went to look it up and the definition says, the Karman line is a boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. Once you cross the Karman line you are in another space. The husband in the show went on to share that he had to let her do what her heart always aimed for, even if it meant that she would leave him behind. That’s some pretty deep stuff. I started to wonder if I ever loved someone to the point where I was willing to help them reach their “Karman Line” and help them achieve what they always dreamed of – even if it meant leaving me behind.
I think as a mother, that is easy to say about our children (or grandchildren) because we want them to succeed and reach their highest potential. But what about our significant other or spouse? After all, the whole purpose people get married is to be together and to hopefully live out their lives together while they are here on this earth. Who, ever, thinks about marrying someone with the understanding that if you outgrow me or if you must leave me to achieve your goals, I love you enough to let you go? Is this true love? I don’t have an answer for this question, but it sounds very self-sacrificing. I’m sure there are examples of this kind of love, though I’ve never personally known anyone to exhibit this firsthand.
If we take this scenario to another level, my question would be: what are you willing to sacrifice in your own life to become your best self? What do you need to do to reach your Karman Line? Regina King recently said, “comfort zones are where dreams go to die.” Oftentimes we do what we must do in order to survive or reach a certain level. But if we get uncomfortable, we often give up or don’t push ourselves to the point of truly achieving our best; myself included. As I really think this through, I also ask myself how can we achieve the perfect balance of reaching our goals and yet still be there for our friends, family and community? That’s a question I think each person must answer for themselves.
At the end of the day, I think we all have a calling on our lives. Some may be bolder than others, but none are more important than another. We all need each other to live in this world and we all depend on each other in one form or another. As I continue to get older and I look back over my life, I want to know that I always tried to do the best I could with what I had to work with at any given time. That I tried to help others along the way. That I learned lessons from the journey. That I loved and was loved in return. For in so doing, then I feel I will have reached my Karman Line.
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