I have an idea. Then again, let’s just call it that. It’s an idea and yet, the details to me are unrealistic at best. But either way, the idea is real and a bit more than one-dimensional.
I have been watching videos of flying lessons. To be clear, I’m not afraid to fly. At least not when I’m sitting in a seat on a flight out of places like JFK or LaGuardia or maybe even Newark, which is not a bad place as far as airports go.
It’s not a bad feeling to be in first class or business class when they pass by with a hot towel and pre-flight beverage of your choice.
I’m not sure how great of a driver I am to begin with – and this is on the ground, let alone in the air, flying high over the world. I have rarely met a person who openly admits or thinks that they are a bad driver.
I could only imagine what this must be like in a little single-engine plane.
Either way, let me get to the point:
I watched a video of a young woman with her pilot’s license. She flew around and videoed herself. I thought this was brilliant. Or better yet, I thought she was brilliant. I thought she was professional and pleasant when talking to people on her headset. In fairness, I was more than impressed. I was blown away.
I suppose the intimidating part about this for me was all the numbers she spoke about and the headings or trajectories. At the same time, I watched this young woman fly high over New Mexico with all the confidence in the world. I saw a video of her land somewhere at a little airport near Albuquerque. She landed her plane, fueled up and then she took off again.
Maybe it’s not the fear of flying that’s intimidating. Maybe it’s the fear of not knowing what could happen or the fear of an engine stall at the worst time. Maybe this is so brave to me that I would never dare or try or believe that I would have what it takes to pull off a flight like this.
I can say that I’ve driven old cars before and I’ve broken down on the side of the road. This has happened more times than once. But hey, there’s no fear of falling when you’re on the ground. At least, not really.
Maybe this isn’t a fear per se, but maybe this is a limitation of the mind. Or, maybe this is a ceiling of ability which is only in my head. In fairness, maybe this is why I’ve stayed in the wrong places for too long. Maybe this is a contribution to our failure to launch.
Or maybe this is why I never took guitar lessons or drumming lessons. Maybe this is why I never told anyone about poetry before or my dreams to be a writer. Maybe it was never the friendly skies that were intimidating to me. But instead, maybe this was a configuration of the mind which kept me grounded.
I think about the successful people who I’ve met throughout my life. I wonder what it is about them that makes them who they are.
Why are they successful?
How come they never seem to be flustered or so frustrated that they shake their fists and scream or quit? Or, maybe they do. Maybe this is not a degree of their comfort level or their frustrations but, instead, this is more about them not giving up. This is about them refusing to quit learning until they understand.
Maybe this is a choice to continue, regardless of intimidation or frustration and maybe this is it. Maybe these above all skills are the reasons why people achieve and succeed.
I have met people who are unafraid to reinvent themselves or try new things. If we ask, I suppose people like this will tell you that this is why they are successful.
Maybe they’re not afraid to suck at something new. Or better yet, maybe they’re not afraid to suck at anything at all because, deep down, they have faith in their abilities to endure. Maybe this is what promotes their capacity to learn more.
Maybe they’re not afraid to be teachable or they’re unafraid of opinions or what people might say.
Maybe the fear of flying is not accurate to me. Instead, maybe the fear of falling is the accurate part.
No one wants to crash and, of course, I mean this both figuratively and literally. No one wants to fall, crash, burn, or be hurt, fail or die a social death and be labeled as a failure.
Meanwhile, these labels are all in the mind.
The truth is no one is so important that the rest of the world is looking at them and thinking, “Wow, this guy sucks!” and even if they are – so what?
I want to fly. This doesn’t just mean that I want to get my pilot’s license. No, this is an idea that I want to grow and learn how to adapt without overthinking.
This is an idea that will allow me to learn more and do more. Even more than this, this is an idea that will allow me the permission to reinvent myself at any given moment, which means I can try and take on a new role.
This means I can try and learn how to do a different job. I can do new things. This means that I can allow myself to suck at something new or old or in any way possible; I can allow myself the freedom to learn without being afraid. But most of all, I can learn without the old intimidations which have followed me around for as long as I can remember.
I think the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
I also believe that not all teachers are meant for all students. And me, I am looking to be taught. I am looking for the right teacher. I want to learn more about my patience, which means I will need a teacher who can exercise patience.
I want to let go of these ideas which limit me or, at best, I want to get rid of the ideas that cause me to rise to the level of my own incompetence.
Oh, and by the way, there was more to that video of the young woman in her airplane. I found another one this morning. She was moving across the country from Michigan to California in her 70 year-old airplane.
She wasn’t afraid to fly. She wasn’t afraid to make a change. She knew how to check her equipment and she wasn’t afraid to navigate into a new life, to reinvent herself, and be free of any limitations.
I think this is brilliant.
I think this is heroic.
She’s my new best hero.