I’m strangling the armrests, trying to focus on the book on my Kindle and not my thoughts.
We’re cruising above the Carolinas, it got a little bumpy, but unexpectedly the plane dove down and to the left, like we were doing a barrel roll. The plane stabilized very quickly, but that feeling of fear stayed with me. I stared out the window, only to see the moonrise looking bloody red. Oh boy.
The moment was fleeting because we landed a hour later; feet on the ground and my stress finally subsided.
I’ve discussed my fear of flying before. It’s not the act of flying that scares me, it’s the “I haven’t lived enough of my life yet so please don’t let me die in a plane crash!”
It’s a fear with no substance, what FDR meant with his “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” line. I’m sitting there freaking myself out for no reason, eventually asking why do I put myself through this.
It’s much easier to be safe and not get on any flights so I can avoid feeling that fear. I can stay home and never experience different places, food, culture, or whatever’s out there, but at least I won't drive myself nuts.
For some, that’s more than enough for a fulfilling life. For me, I’d rather die in a fiery plane crash than exist and never live. I can deal with a couple hours of being fearful towards enjoying a lifetime of memories than miss out.
Most of us have a fear that is debilitating; we'd rather do anything that face it and we're worse off for never taking it on.
I read something amazing once (here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1WLEXwy) about taking that feeling of fear that you have and using it as fuel to live a fulfilling life so if your plane does, God forbid, go down, then you won’t feel bad about it.
Prior to the flight, I was grabbing a bite at a bar, sitting next to this nice woman. We struck up a conversation about what brought us to Costa Rica. She said she took a brave step in her life and traveled alone to a foreign country, which she hitchhiked her way throughout the country to a Nicaraguan beach.
I thought that was amazing, I was very impressed because I’ve always wanted to do that too. She had a great experience and said she can’t wait to do it again.
I told her that I joined friends and enjoyed relaxing at the beach, incredible sunsets, hiking through a rainforest onto a volcano, and conversed in broken Spanish with strangers who had nothing more to offer than a smile, but somehow enjoyed at my attempts to be one of them.
After we landed, I thought about my experiences. Being there in person is something you can never replicate, I would hate to be the one asking how it was instead of knowing first hand. The joys of life will overcome any fear that may hold us back.
I saw the woman before I jumped in my taxi, we exchanged goodbyes and her last parting words were “Live well!”
I smiled and thought, I will.