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Monday, January 25, 2010

Things I wish I liked: Flying

I used to love flying. I remember taking people to the aiport and wishing so badly that I could go somewhere. I also remember taking off on a Southwest flight to Dallas one time and thinking, "This is so fun, it makes me want to ride a roller coaster!" When I got to Dallas I convinced Frank to take me to Six Flags.

When Frank worked for AA, sometimes we got to fly first class (or just "first" as those in the know say). Oh, how I loved to fly first class--the warm cookies, the hot peanuts, the steaming towels. It's all about the heat I guess. We flew to NYC, LA, Chicago, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, my Grandma's house. Once we even flew to Vegas just for the day!

But on a bumpy flight from Lubbock in 2001, I decided I hated flying. I've hated it ever since. I get anxious, sweaty, nervous. I've still gone plenty of places but it's just not as much fun. I'm nervous before we leave, I'm nervous while we're flying, I'm nervous once we get there because I have to fly home.

If I wasn't afraid of flying, it would be awesome. I would enjoy looking at the different characters in the aiport, peruse the in-flight magazine and most of all, enjoy my travels so much more.

I've recently taken steps to overcome this fear of flying. Frank's dad (a counselor) told me about a website that helped one of his It's a course written by a pilot. It covers anxiety attacks, the mechanics of flying and the stats on aviation safety. It's free so I figured, why not?

I've flown four times (two round-trips) since taking the course. I really think it helped me. First of all, I used to get really nervous during turbulence. But Captain Stacey explained that turbulence is no big deal. Most of the time it's so small that it barely registers on the pilot's whatchmacallit. And it's not like the plane is fighting to stay in control. He also explained the conditions that cause turbulence--heat rising up from the ground, weather systems, clouds, etc. The thing that helped me the most was when he said that if he flew for FedEx, he wouldn't even try to avoid turbulence because the packages don't mind bumps!

I also liked it when Captain Stacey had a little picture of an airplance with a smile that said, "The plane is happiest when it's in the air. That's where it's meant to be."

I'm not cured yet but each time I fly it gets easier. I also review the course before each trip. I'm determined to get over this so I can see the world and not stress about it. So maybe now I'll file "flying" under "Things I wish I liked: working on it."


GR said...

Flying is safer than driving on the Gulf Freeway (and not as bumpy).

Unknown said...

Oh boy, I'm in the same boat. I look at a site (very similar to that one) the entire week before my flight.

I just flew to Houston alone with Jules - it was bumpy landing, but the Gulf Freeway was worse!

Jessi said...

(awesome, I was apparently signed in as "work" - dumb, sorry)

Writinggal said...

When you said you were flying with "Jules" I knew who you were :)