Updated: Feb 2, 2022
I was supposed to travel out to the small fishing village of Shishmaref and the snow is flying. I knew that I didn't want to fly out that day but was wondering if that was my wimpy New Yorker (if that isn't an oxymoron, I'm not sure what is) attitude, and real Alaskans fly in this weather and enjoy it. Turned out the pilots and the airline agreed with me, and all was shut down. The next day was a good day to fly and I went off to Bering Air to get on their Cessna Caravan. I don't know if I shared this before, but I am afraid of heights and flying. Quite an opportunity to battle my demons, given that I have taken a job where there is no other access except by air. Discomfort is my middle name. Did I mention my fear of flying? It's a ruminating, teeth gritting, bathroom running type of experience that I have to keep internal so that I don't freak others out. Every time we hit a bump my heart jumps into my throat. As I was in the plane I realized that there was no way to escape turbulence; it's the price you pay to fly through the air, and there was actually nothing wrong. The bumps were always going to happen and we were always going to get to the other side. When the flight attendant says to return to your seats it is to add a layer of protection so that we don’t fall but not so that we don't die. How does one go through turbulence, pivot a little for safety, and trust that everything is still OK? It is only through discomfort that you can make it to the promised land of evolving and reaching your individual goals (and, in this case, the small village of Shishmaref). As I calculated the actual turbulent time, 30 seconds, over the flight time, 40 minutes, I realized that 1.25% of my trip was spent in turbulence and 98.75% was smooth sailing. This was in direct opposition to the 98.75% time I spent worrying, as well as the pre flight worry, so double that to 197.5%, and the 1.25% of the time I spent enjoying the view. Hitting some turbulence now, even though I feel a little scared, I am practicing the thought, “There was always meant to be turbulence and nothing has gone wrong." With that thought I am feeling more confident, and every time the turbulence stops and we hit a patch of smooth sailing, it reconfirms that thought. The thought could go the other way, like, "Every-time I hit turbulence it reconfirms that things are not OK or uncertain," but which one is going to get me the results I want and need? The results being maximal enjoyment with as little worry as possible over things I can't control. I am going to use the 98.75% brain space to look at the beautiful clouds, the tops of the snow capped mountains and watch the sun rise. There are people who pay money to fly up and see the sights and I get to see it for free as part of my job. I see Shishmaref, affectionately referred to as Shish, in the distance. Landings are usually hard for me so I will need to help the pilot by pressing on my imaginary brake. I’m sure it will help matters and hopefully I won’t break a toe. Turbulence will happen, and we get to decide what we make it mean in our journey to evolve into the next iteration of our greatness. As I Go You Go!!!