I have always had an intense fear of turbulence. And as someone who is originally from New Jersey but went to school in Miami and stayed, and having a job where I travel all the time, it is kind of ironic that my life involves so much flying. Which means that I can't ever get away from turbulence for too long. The rest of flying is fine with me. I don't mind the take off or the landing (or even a little turbulence when landing -- after all I am a rational person and know that we have to get down) but when the bumps start and the seat belt sign goes on, I feel my hands start to sweat and my heart start to race.
It's really somewhat of a Pavlovian response at this point. Because in reality -- I know turbulence is not dangerous and have been on many, many bumpy flights in my life. And they have always delivered me safely -- albeit at times kind of shaken up -- to my destination. But I never really know how long it will last or how bumpy it will get and I can't get off. It's out of my control and that is scary.
On this flight, the captain made an announcement before we took off that it was going to be bumpy the first half of the flight. Quickly calculating in my head -- I started getting very nervous thinking about the hour and 15 minutes or so of bumps coming up. But this time something else occurred to me that never really has before. They know it is going to bumpy. In other words, they are aware. And clearly they are prepared. Which actually calmed me down.
Being aware and prepared. It's got me thinking about how that translates into life. Part of the beauty and the scary part of life is knowing that there are many things you can't be prepared for. You can never really be prepared to fall in love, to hold your child for the first time, to know true joy. You can also never really be prepared for things on the flip side, to lose your job, find out you are sick, lose a loved one or even know when you are going to die.
Although it is true that you can't know these things, the philosophy of being aware and prepared can help you through life in so many ways. At work, be aware of what is going on with your company, not just what you yourself are working on. Knowing what is happening can help you be aware of whether this is a place you want to stick with for the long term or if this is a shorter stop on your career path. Try to make sure to keep abreast of other companies and what they are doing to ensure that your company is still the right fit for you. And have a Plan B in case you need or want it.
In your personal life, take care of yourself. Be healthy, exercise, eat right at least most of the time and go to the doctor when it's time. And then beyond that -- live! It is actually quite liberating to realize that life is full of so many unknowns. So many wonderful, exciting adventures you don't even know will come your way. Friends to meet and places to travel to. And by being aware and prepared, you will know that you are facing all of the unknowns in the best possible way.
The pilot just made an announcement that he expects it to be bumpy for awhile longer. He is aware and prepared and by knowing that, so am I. And as we make our way home, I will try to accept that I don't know just how bumpy it will get or for just how long. And maybe that is actually ok.