once upon a time, a girl had a dream, one she believed in. because she believed in it, others did too.
i have wanted to fly over half my life, since i was 10 years old, to be exact. i am a pilot now, and i've been flying since i was 18, so some time has passed since the conception of this dream of mine, and a lot has happened in the years after that little girl read a book that would shape her future.
flight school has always been challenging. rewarding, but challenging. there's a lot of studying, a lot of questions asked and answers given, a lot of early days and late nights, and lot of sweaty-palmed flying, shaky takeoffs and rough landings. overall though, it's fun, and completing my training and getting my license in may of 2021 was the most rewarding accomplishment i've ever achieved. flying is fun, but nothing is fun forever.
before you get nervous, no, i'm not bailing on this calling and dream. i'm not walking away forever to sit sad behind a desk, daydreaming from 9-5 about a time in my life some odd years ago when my feet didn't always touch the ground, and reading from 6-8 about people whose feet still don't. where i am right now is what i call "soft-quitting."
soft-quit // verb: to walk away from a task or activity for an indefinite but temporary amount of time, with the intention of eventually returning to said task or activity. *see also burnout
i have soft-quit. i haven't flown in over month, haven't studied in over a week, haven't really talked about how dead i feel when it comes to school. i'm currently (i use that word very loosely) working on my instrument rating, which will enable me to fly using just my instruments, without needing to see outside at all. flying by instruments is so so fun to me, the most fun i've had flying, but the knowledge requirements are dauntingly vast. considering that this rating is used in less-than-ideal, potentially dangerous environments, knowledge and procedures need to be sharp, and mine isn't making the cut. now, i'm not saying i'm stupid, i'm not (i think), i'm just not the best student in the world. i've only been the top of my class since 4th grade because i'm the only one in my classes. when i study i do well, but it takes a lot for me to muster up the energy and determination to study, despite everyone and i mean everyone thinking i'm the most driven and hard-working person they know (why they think that, i have literally no clue).
i don't know if this happens to you, but i run into people i know and who know me a lot haha, and without fail, someone will bring up flight school at some point in our conversations. "i saw on facebook that you fly, that's so awesome!" "i've never met a pilot before, you're the coolest person ever!" "wow that must be so hard, good thing you're so smart and hard-working!" "you have so much ahead of you, i'm so excited for you!!"
i'll tell you a secret, whenever someone says they're excited for me, in my head i think "that makes one of us."
in recent months i've dreaded flying coming up in conversation. yes, i love that i fly, yeah i know being a pilot is uncommon, yes, there is a lot of knowledge i need to have to do this. to be honest, when people bring up my successes in flying, all i can think about are the countless failures that never made it to their instagram feeds and facebook timelines. they see the sun reflecting off a big smile when i'm flying, but they didn't see it refracted by tears i cried on my way to school that day because i was scared to fail. they see me post that awesome blue fuel and a nugget of what i learned that day, but they don't know the mental punishment i inflict on the way home because i made mistakes that day.
despite what i've always heard and been told, the sky has its limitations...
i'll push the throttle in on this post so to speak, because i'm not trying to be depressing, i'm just trying to be honest. but yes, my honesty is slightly selfish (oops, i'm human lol)! maybe i'm posting this so people will read it and they'll stop asking me about school. maybe i'm sharing this because i want someone to read it and tell me i'm not the only student that isn't on cloud nine at all times academically. this post is about my journey in school, but it's not just about that, about me. maybe you're someone people expect a lot out of. maybe you've always been a straight-a student and have to strive to stay that way. maybe you're the mvp always defending your position. maybe people think you're so perfect, or smart, or pretty, or funny, or talented that you think you can't tell them that you don't always feel it. maybe people look at you and say the sky's the limit, and you wanna say that that's not true. i know how you feel.
i have people hyping me up, supporting me, encouraging me, praying for me, and investing in me all the time, people for which i am suuuuuppppeeeeeeerrrrr grateful (you know who you are and i love you!!!!)! while it may not make me wanna jump out of bed at 5am and change the world, it reminds me that what i'm doing and what i will do isn't just about me. practically, i will not be flying empty planes around the rest of my life, i will encounter and impact other people! spiritually, God is always thinking big picture, and i'm a part of it (so are you!) so i need to think bigger than myself. mentally, it's hard to zoom out because i'm human, and we little bitty humans live in an every-man-for-himself world, and for me that makes me wanna bail on the hard calling and do what makes me happy. but this isn't about me, and what you are called to and passionate about isn't just about you! yes, school is really %#!@+*$ hard, yeah, work gets dull, yes, sometimes life makes me wanna bang on the pearly gates and demand to be let me in early, but God didn't call me to do this and then bail on me. God didn't ask me to figure my life out all on my own. He asked me to join Him in what He's already doing, and He's inviting you to the same.
what i'm called to do may seem simple on paper, but it sure as heck ain't easy! and you know what, that's good. you may think i'm completely flipping on what i just rambled about for 8 paragraphs, but i'm really not. would i like it if school was easier? you can bet your college scholarship i would! but, if what God asked me to do was easy, i would end up doing it without Him. i would so quickly forget that i need Him for everything i do because i am weak and broken and human and lazy and slow and undetermined and the list goes on. i need God! you need God! we need God, for anything and everything! i'd be worse off if school was easy and i did it without Deity than if it sucked so hard it made me cry myself to sleep. i don't have the luxury of forgetting that i need help, and while it's super super difficult, i have moments where i am grateful for that fact.
yeah, i still dread the thought of school. my smiles could win oscars when someone asks if i'm excited, if i'm happy, and my award speech in my mind would be, "that makes one of us." the good news, friends, is that while the sky may have its limitations, the One who made it doesn't, so whatever He's doing, do that, and wherever He's going, go there. God is limitless, so even though that makes only one of us, that's all it takes.