Musings

I don’t even know me anymore

At what age is someone supposed to go through a mid life crisis and what exactly does this “crisis” entail?  When does menopause ooze it’s hot-flash laden tentacles into a woman’s cauldron of already unstable hormones, slowly relinquishing control to the erratic whims of some kind of evil alien puppet master?  Is it possible to wake up one bright cheery morning to the sweet song of hungry robin chicks and simply know to the very marrow of your bones that you’re an impostor?  A pod person?  Not who you thought you were at all?

I vividly remember as a brash and outspoken youth being a staunchly “that affects me how?” and “sucks to be you!” kind of girl.  Daring, reckless, rebellious, I was the very definition of teenage angst and drama.  I barged through life cloaked in a impenetrable illusion of self-confidence while secretly composing sappy poems exposing the lonely fear of my self-imposed emotional isolation.  I existed with ease on the periphery of almost all but the most popular cliques while keeping only a handful of close friends in whom I was somehow never able to bring myself to confide completely and without reservation.   I made life altering decisions on a whim and fell head over heels for speed, excitement and the tired anthem of sex, drugs and rock and roll.  I could only see what was immediately in front of me and only if it somehow had the possibility of affecting the never ending party I had made of my life.  I thought I knew everything about myself.  As it turns out, you never really know what you don’t know, you know?

I’d like to think that I’ve matured a lot since those days and that’s the underlying reason that I’m now feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  I have, after all, done a lot of living in the last 20 years.  I would have lost a considerable amount of money had I wagered back then on whether I would have ever done some of the things I now couldn’t imagine not experiencing.  I’ve pursued a career as a pilot, married my soul mate, given birth to two amazing children, launched a new career as a business owner and entrepreneur, and shoved an almost paralyzing fear aside to start writing.  But something is still not quite right.  I’m having trouble reconciling the girl I used to be with the woman I’ve become.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m very much a Type A personality.  I need a plan, a backup plan (or two), and only woe comes to those who do not follow the plan.  Delegating is extrememly difficult for me and I think I’ve become even more of a control freak (a thought my husband would casually dismiss as impossible) than I’ve ever been in the past.  Asking me to “let go” and “be in the moment” is like asking me to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  It may be possible, but the likelihood of it actually happening is probably about the same as Mesthosopholes opening up a ski resort featuring a world class slalom course in Hell.

But I think letting go and being present in the moment is exactly the balm for which my weary soul yearns.  I’ve grown tired of schedules, plans, routines, checklists and keeping track of every little detail of my life.  I’ve forgotten how to live.  I long for the wild abandon of my youth before I began to care about things other than myself.  Before work, family, responsibility, there was only me and my own selfish and childish pursuit of anything that made me feel alive.  Now, I’ve become bogged down with possessions, responsibilities, social obligations, and countless other small burdens which threaten to drag me under like an extremely unlucky mobster’s cement shoes.

Yet, as I slowly saw through the ropes of the unnecessary sandbags keeping my balloon earthbound, I’ve realized that blogging has been and continues to be a priceless lifeline to the carefree existence of that girl I used to be.  Not only have I been able to enjoy the freedom of expressing myself as I pleased, but I’ve also cast aside a small portion of the Teflon cloak in order to share thoughts, ideas and experiences that would have left that daring party girl of my youth hiding in the ladies’ room.

Things change.  People change.  It’s the journey that counts and although I may not know myself anymore, I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know me better.  Maybe even as much as I enjoy getting to know you.  Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and allowing me my midlife crisis, though I may still have to get a motorcycle or an airplane.  That’s part of the deal, right?

Aviation, Musings, Pet Peeves, Philosophy

Fly with me

I cannot name the day when I first fell helplessly in love with flying.  My parents must have somehow recognized my natural inclinations before I did, for their gifts of an aerobatic glider ride for my 16th birthday and my first flight lesson the following year exposed me to the virulent devotion that would define my initial education as a pilot.   The pristine joy of directing my little airplane to leap into the brilliantly crisp air and quixotically soar as an ungainly metal raptor still haunts my most pleasant dreams.  It was as if my very soul was released from it’s fleshy prison to leap jubilantly into the effervescent cosmos, surf the glowing tails of comets, and dance among the silently spinning galaxies.

But like any pearl of simple pleasure, it eventually became lost among the detritus and trappings of life.  Not only is aviation an expensive pursuit, but it is further tarnished by demands of man.  Oppressive regulations often favor monetary interests rather than the beleaguered pilot, who, at least initially, is so enamored with the joy of flying that a duty day of 14 hours and a starting salary well below the poverty level is foolishly and wholeheartedly accepted without question.  Such a demanding schedule is also detrimental to the “normalcy” of having a family, and many pilots have sacrificed their dreams of a spouse and children at the altar of their career.

My passion was further dimmed by the neolithic beliefs unabashedly proclaimed by some of my male acquaintances about the proper place of a woman.  A man with whom I worked once said that he would never ride in an aircraft with a woman in the cockpit.  He even boasted of refusing a seat on a commercial airliner whose crew included a female copilot.  My disbelief and shock at this sentiment grew exponentially upon discovering that there were even some male pilots who shared the belief that women were somehow subordinate to them in ability simply due to their gender.

Things such as these have weighed upon my love of flying in much the same way clear ice coats the wings of the unwary.  And while I have since chosen another path, nothing will ever change the fact that my heart was first captured by the giddy sense of bright freedom offered by even the smallest of aircraft.  I have been blessed with experiences and accomplishments in my short career as a pilot that reduce the petty chauvinistic attitudes and callous greed of others to puffs of lukewarm air beneath my wings.

I can fly.  Never doubt that you can, too.

Humor, Musings

Trapped!

Please help me.  All I want is my freedom, if only for one measly hour.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  I imagine even convicted felons currently residing in Stateville Penitentiary get an hour out in the yard to lift weights and plot their grand escape during a staged prison riot.  In comparison, my transgressions barely register.  I’ll confess that I do know, and frequently use, a plethora of exotically glorious foul language, but what girl doesn’t?  Surely an occasional f-bomb doesn’t warrant such extreme chastisement.

Not only have I been cruelly ensnared in a dragnet of stupefaction, but an insidious and terrible campaign of psychological warfare has been instigated and is even now slowly and unequivocally smothering my sanity.  My mind is being assaulted by horrific domestic propaganda in the same way climate change is eroding the Maldives but without the glimmer of hope provided by the Mulee Aage solar panels.  Sleep deprivation, emotional blackmail, noise and social solitary confinement have taken their toll.

I don’t know how much longer I can resist.  You must hurry.

Do not attempt to appeal to my captors for clemency.  They are callous, unappeasable and absolutely reasonless.  They are cunning and powerful, using their formidable ninja skills to utilize terrain, weather and even my own intrinsic sense of responsibility and morality against me.  They are relentless, unstoppable.  They are my children and they are ruthless.

As the sand slips gracefully through the hourglass ushering in my inevitable downfall, I beg you, please release me from this torment, if only for an hour.  Please, before I am lost to the mists of parental oblivion.  Please.

I have to go now.  They want a snack.  Save me.  Hurry.