I would classify myself as a seasoned traveler. I’ve flown probably thousands of miles in my life, including a 15 hour flight to Australia and two trips across the Atlantic to Europe. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have anxiety about turbulence. On a recent cross country trip, we experienced bad turbulence going and returning. I was with one of my besties who hadn’t flown in years, but I didn’t act cool about it. I was scared. All these irrational things run through your head: like have I lived a good life, have I written everything I wanted to write, have I taken chances?
So, with all these questions running through my head and my hands gripping the seat, I realized that turbulence does let me know I’m alive.
It’s a bit of a crazy conclusion. That doesn’t make it any less true. We tell ourselves all kinds of crazy things in the modern world. Most aren’t truthful. Much of what we tell ourselves is rationale for what we did or didn’t do. Often, in moments or situations where we are scared or see finality, only then are we honest. But why? Why does this act as a catalyst for us to get our shit together. Does almost dying, make us feel more alive?
I’m on a mission to do shit that scares me. I want no part of the comfort zone. As a writer and liver of a believable life, there are still subjects I am afraid to write about. They are very personal and aren’t the kind of things that go down smoothly. Yet, these things are important. They made me who I am. They are part of my story. It doesn’t matter that they are the part of my story’s fabric that are sharp and cut easily. These “sharp” bits of life experience are often what makes us compassionate, empathetic and human.
While turbulence is terribly uncomfortable and scary, so is life at times. You can either buckle up and expect constant bumps or stand outside, always looking in at the world, as if it were a TV show. I refuse to be a bystander in my own life.
I won’t let the bad stuff keep me from the good stuff in life. It did for awhile. I made all kinds of mistakes like marrying a man I didn’t love and pushing away people that mattered. But I own them as mistakes. I don’t pretend that they didn’t happen. But back then I didn’t feel turbulence. I didn’t feel anything, happy or sad.
So, today right now, I’m grateful to say, “Turbulence lets me know I’m alive.”