Flight Plan

“The mechanics of flight are as such: study the planned trajectory, map out a flight plan, lift off from the ground… and hope you don’t fall.” ~Anonymous

Time just moves on, but we are the same people we’ve always been, even if sometimes we surprise people and/or surprise ourselves. I know that’s true for me. I have tendencies, and for better or for worse, these tendencies are my default setting. So when I branch out, when I really stretch my wings, I realize I can fly, but I know I should take a snapshot, a mental picture, because odds are I won’t fly again.

Sometimes life is like that, when things work out perfectly, or as perfectly as they possibly can, given the factors that impinge upon our best performance. There are times in my life when I’ve felt like I was more than the sum of my parts, but those times are hazy, like I’m seeing them through a film. I recognize that it was me then, that I did those things, but they were so beyond what I’m normally capable of that my brain decided to shade them in sepia tones.

Flight actually scares me, to be honest. There’s something about being so far above solid ground that makes me as nervous as a sheep about to be shorn. The size of the airplane itself creates the disbelief that I’m not safe hurtling miles above the ground in something so heavy. While my sentient brain understands the properties that make this possible, my lizard brain fights against the notion to the bitter end. Every time I’ve flown I’ve been desperately afraid of plummeting to my death…

But the idea of flying, well, that’s incredible. The Superman kind of flying — just one person, high above it all, utterly in control — that moves me. Of course I’ve never considered myself brave like Superman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (of course, being able to fly, is pretty obvious). I’ve never thought I was capable of more than I’ve done before. That’s why when amazing things happen in my life I’m always shocked, flummoxed, blown away by it all. Because I’m no Superman, but once in a while I’ve been able to fly.

I’m convinced, just like Shakespeare, that the world is really one big stage, that I’m one of the actors who occasionally gets a line that ultimately defines me in the eyes of the audience for the entirety of the play. Everyone around me is also waiting for their lines, hopeful that theirs will be as definitive as mine just happened to be. Then the next play goes on, and I have no lines. Life is cyclical like that, and I try to hang on to the lines I manage to claim as my own. If I believe I am, then I actually am. Sometimes I stand in the wings with my arms outstretched because I am a tree. It is what it is.

Of course on stage there are wires that hoist actors up when it’s their time to ascend, that allow us to simulate flight, but we know they’re there. We know we’re not really doing it on our own, yet it doesn’t matter when we’re in the air. It’s how I feel when things go right for me, because I’m not the only one responsible for it, because I’m never flying all alone. I think that’s how it is for pretty much everyone, but I can only speak for myself. The wind beneath my wings, and all that. I appreciate everyone who supports me, who helps me to realize my potential, and I hope I’m able to do that for them as well.

I got a new job. I still can’t believe it. It’s been far too long, I’ve been stuck in neutral, and I hadn’t even dared to hope, not after so much time. But I never gave up. I never went through the motions. I guess I just felt like it wasn’t going to happen for me no matter how hard I tried. Yet I kept trying. I kept trying my hardest because I can’t ever just stand still. I’ve never been able to settle when I felt like there was more for me out there.

So I’m up in the air. I’m shocked. I’m flummoxed. I’m blown away by it all. When I got the call that said the job was mine, if I was still interested, and I held my breath because I’ve always been interested. Then I said “Yes!” and it was what I thought it must have felt like if I had been proposed to by the love of my life. “Yes!” I said, yet I still didn’t dare to hope. I studied my planned trajectory. I mapped out a flight plan. I lifted off from the ground…

and I hoped I wouldn’t fall. I’m still hoping.

Sam

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