by Jennifer on August 5, 2008

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.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Dharmamama August 5, 2008 at 3:34 am

I was going to say – what are you, dead? You can still go to flight school! And then I saw you saw that, too…

“The months will pass whether I do it or not, so why not try, right?”

Yes! I love this. It’s either going to be December, with you pretty much where you are now, or December, with new possibilities… I’m excited for you!

Dharmamamas last blog post..Truly Open-Hearted

ReluctantFarmChic August 5, 2008 at 4:44 am

Excited for your new possibilities and control! Also here to encourage you to not give up. Flying has never been on my list of things to do (other than to get me to the places I want to visit on that list). But my brother has always had this hankering, so at 40 he quit his amazing job and went to flight school. Full time. Now he’s an instructor getting all sorts of hours and opening job oppotunities for more flying. Don’t let fear (or the unknown) stop you! Your kids will have the courage you give them (through example). So . . . go fly! LIVE in possibilities.

texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvana August 5, 2008 at 6:03 am

YEAH! I love living on the edge of comfort. It may cause some sleep loss at first, but overall it can’t be beat.

You have me very curious…

Kate August 5, 2008 at 6:56 am

I think you will do just fine!

Kates last blog post..Meme

Louise August 5, 2008 at 8:19 am

Good for you! Do I know what it is? I think I do. I’ll send you an e-mail. No matter what it is, I think you might find it more exciting at times than you expected. There will be some adrenaline to it, even if it’s not flying.

I used to want to learn to fly. Then I had that plane trip (which I have half-a-post to blog about in my head already). I no longer want to do it, but I’m all for anyone who does.

Louises last blog post..Is THIS Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

Lisa Milton August 5, 2008 at 8:37 am

You have successfully piqued my interest. And my fancy: Wonder what I could take on?


I’m staying tuned.

melissa August 5, 2008 at 8:48 am

Good for you! The EAA convention is wrapping up a half hour south of me right now, and their theme this year was women in flight. Maybe some year you’ll fly in!

melissas last blog post..Big Decisions

Jenn @ Juggling Life August 5, 2008 at 9:24 am

Even if you don’t think it’s all that exciting, we’d love to hear about it. Congrats on picking a direction and following it.

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Oh, How The Children They Do Grow!

Bruce August 5, 2008 at 9:27 am

Best of luck in the new endevour. Remember, change keeps us young, if we don’t challenge ourselves, we grow old.

I know how planes stay in the air, but it is much eaiser just to explain it as magic. Sometimes, science takes the wonderment out of life.

tysdaddy August 5, 2008 at 9:43 am

Here’s a cup of sticktuitiveness in regards to your current endeavors. You’ll be airborne in no time . . .

tysdaddys last blog post..Heres How It Goes

Hilary August 5, 2008 at 9:53 am

Sounds intriguing. Looking forward to hearing more about it. Wishing you the best of luck.

Hilarys last blog post..Golden Glow

we_be_toys August 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

Here’s hoping that the new venture works out for you, isn’t as uncomfortable as you think, and that those flying lessons commence soon!

we_be_toyss last blog post..Exploratory Soul Surgery

Akelamalu August 5, 2008 at 11:07 am

I’m sure you won’t fail, but even if you do you can say you tried! 🙂

Akelamalus last blog post..Oblivious….

Daryl August 5, 2008 at 11:09 am

Good luck but I know you wont need luck you’re smart and talented ..

And lets be fair here .. there are a LOT of us who are the only reason we’ve not done something or another .. so you’re in good company

Daryls last blog post..toonsday – husbandisms

Ann August 5, 2008 at 11:57 am

Hmmm (rubs hands together), I wonder what this is, because it sounds interesting. Why? Mostly because I too am at that place where I want to do something (else) where I can continue to contribute financially. I know it’s not going to be my dream – so I keep putting walls up, stubbornly. When instead, maybe I should just go ahead and do something that is not my dream, and be okay with it. Maybe it’s just part of the process and the more I fight it – the more I push my dream away from me…

Anns last blog post..It’s All About The Cherries

Mark Salinas August 5, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Looks good, ambition…very nice!

Mark Salinass last blog post..How about a Walk?

Milena August 5, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Jennifer: You fly more than you know. Perhaps not in the literal sense but in the metaphoric one? You are up there in the stratosphere. The measure of your courage is not in this achievement. A dream fulfilled certainly but not courage. You have courage in spades. As to the new project, I will give you a platitude you already know to the nth degree but it bears reminding – You can only try. For my part, I know you are capable of succeeding at anything you set your mind to. Sometimes it is not about what we do but how circumstances shape themselves to contrive against us. Remember that if it doesn’t pan out. In any case, I’m crossing my fingers for you. All of them.

Milenas last blog post..

San Diego Momma August 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Of course you’ll be good at whatever it is you are to do (WHAT IS IT????).

Meaning, flight school is so ON.

Bring it, Jennifer!

San Diego Mommas last blog post..PROMPTuesday #16: Give ‘Em a Piece of Your Mind

Allen August 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm

You will do GREAT! Don’t know what it is but have every belief you’ll make it. And I’m guessing your ringside handlers will be there every step of the way, through however many rounds it’ll take you to deliver that knockout blow.

Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Get ready for Round #1 . . . DING! Go get ’em, Champ!

Arli August 5, 2008 at 6:14 pm

“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”
Babe Ruth

Minnesota Matron August 5, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Congratulations!!! Just read a wonderful article on risk, how the brain is hard-wired for challenge and risk, and we function better and are healthier, if we’re taking risks. Good for you!!!!

Suzanne August 5, 2008 at 8:40 pm

In a sense, you’re already taking flight.

Suzannes last blog post..BlogHer ’09

flutter August 5, 2008 at 10:47 pm

You are already flying, friend.

flutters last blog post..Word to the flutter

Ree August 6, 2008 at 12:11 pm

I very nearly tagged you for the “8 things you want to do before, y’know…the end” meme. 😉 And yet, here you are, talking about always wanting to fly.

Use that drive you’ve got going and push it further Jennifer. We’re cheering for you.

Rees last blog post..WW – Frankenmuth Michigan

david mcmahon August 6, 2008 at 6:25 pm

You superstar. I can just see you in the Top Gun sequel.

JCK August 6, 2008 at 11:31 pm

You are NOT going to work for that Jeff TV character are you!!!

I know what you are saying. Completely. Holding ourselves back. Doubting ourselves. Many of us women do ths well. I’m here cheering you on.

JCKs last blog post..We will soon be gone from this place

RiverPoet August 7, 2008 at 5:40 am

I’d love it if you took on flight school. It was my hubby’s dream, too, and he waited a long time to do it. Like you, he gets in his own way a lot.

Well, he’s quite close to getting his license now, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for him! You will do it, too, I just know it.

Peace – D

RiverPoets last blog post..A Day in the Life of a Tech Writer

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