Today I drove past the airfield in town, a busy municipal airport, with a steady flow of takeoffs and landings.
The runways are situated where two main streets make a corner, so that when we approach the intersection from the east, we often see planes flying low and smooth over our car, casting us in shadow as they come in to land. My kids notice the planes, and it makes me happy when they get excited to see one fly right over us. For them, it’s magic.
Even though I’m an adult and I have some idea of how planes manage to stay in the air, I still think there’s some kind of wizardry to flight. When I was in college, I would drive out to the airport in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the evening just to watch the planes. I would sit on the hood of the car and lean against the windshield, the blue lights of the runways in front of me and the darkening sky above, the planes coming in low and loud, their whine-roar so loud I could feel it in my bones. It was magic.
Later on, I thought about learning to fly, and clipped ads for classes from local newspapers wherever I lived. But of all the things I could do with the money I earned, flight lessons were far down on the list, well below rent and food and car payments.
And then I had children. After that, my gut said things like, You have kids now. or You could die, you know. Better safe than sorry, right?
Except now I’m sorry. I regret that I didn’t at least try do something that I know I would have loved. How many flight hours would I have logged by now? What have I missed? Don’t I want my kids to know that life can hold some adventure, too? That “be careful” isn’t the only thing I want them to hear from me?
The only person holding me back was me. (I can’t even tell you how often that’s true.)
Just yesterday, I committed to doing something that’s going to help our family, financially. I won’t go into the details, mostly because they’re not that exciting right now, but it’s something that’s going to require me to study and work very hard for the next couple of months. The thing I’ll be doing isn’t my lifelong dream (as my Girl would say), but I feel good about my decision to do this thing that will be useful and beneficial for us. There’s value in that, even though I’ve had a hard time convincing myself to commit to a job that is so far outside my comfort zone.
Committing to this plan improved my state of mind immeasurably. I feel more in control than I did a few days ago, when it was all just an idea and a possibility. I’m pulling myself up by my bootstraps, and it feels good.
Still, I’m scared that I will fail, and worried that my brain will turn out to be a cranky old bitch who doesn’t want to learn a load of new information. But, just knowing that I’m going to try gives me some confidence. The months will pass whether I do it or not, so why not try, right?
Maybe if I am successful at this one thing, I’ll begin to learn to get out of my own way when it comes to other things. And if that happens?
Flight school is on.