Okay, here’s the thing: I’ve been afraid of flying since a bumpy flight to Hawaii for a graduation trip I took with my friends in 2008.
I hadn’t even realized that flying might be a scary venture up until this point, but since – ie. for the last eight years (yes, I’m old) – I haven’t been able to shake it. I’ve probably been on a hundred commercial flights since that time, many of them alone, and yet, each time we start approaching the runway, my hands begin to sweat uncontrollably. And every single time this unpleasant experience presents itself, I wonder the same thing: when am I going to STOP being afraid?
I had almost fully accepted the fact that this may just be a lifelong fear, until this past weekend I t0ok a trip to Seattle with one of my dearest friends. We stayed with a friend of hers, who just so happened to be a University-mate of my sister’s back in the day, and was also a trained pilot. A small-plane flight was already planned, and yes, I was nervous.
I spent the first day of our vacation randomly inserting pieces of knowledge and questions about flying and planes crashing to gage my relative safety of what would become one of the most courageous moments of my existence. Buddy answered with confidence and certainty, and over the course of the 24 hours leading up to the take off, I began to trust my life with this relative stranger who’d quickly become, well, for lack of better words, a buddy.
And then it was time. The 2-seater Cessna 162 literally could not have been smaller. It even had one of the rotating wheels (turbine?) on the front of it. Buddy literally pulled the thing by hand towards the runway before we climbed aboard.
And though my heart started pounding greater than any commercial takeoff of my life, the moment our landing gear lifted off the pavement, a soothing calmness took over me. We were up, flying over Seattle, much quicker than I imagined possible, hardly making it halfway down the runway, and the view was incredible. A state of euphoria ran over me.
We did a few “touch and gos” touching down on the runway and taking off again. Each time I felt more and more confident. And as the stream of highly technical coordination-talk came through my highly fashionable flying headphones, I thought about how safe the act has become. My mind pondered on the first flight in history, and wondered with amusement at how incredible this very same experience must have been for Wilbur and Orville.
As it turns out, some of the things that are the scariest are really the most incredible, once you get on the other side of fear.
So I challenge you, dear one, to face your fears. Get to the other side of it… discover the euphoria that lingers beyond.
“I can see it your eyes – I know you want to fly! So get off your a$$ and create your life…”
AKA. Get over your fears, and fly darling.