When It feels AWKWARD: A Memorable First Flying Lesson

“Even when it feels awkward…” – Nancy Cullen
 “Anything worth doing well is worth doing badly in the beginning”Marshall Thurber 
I do not like doing things badly.  I want to do things well.  The first time.  I see others doing a thing well, with grace and ease, so I jump in and, well, you all know the moment:  It feels so AWKWARD!  Not at all how it looked watching from the sidelines.
when it feels awkward
Rooks County Airport Dedication

I remember when I decided to learn to fly.  I had always wanted to fly. My father was a private pilot based at a small air park in north central Kansas and I had spent many hours flying with him.  He made it seem so easy.  It was:

  • fun.
  • fast.
  • exciting.

I wanted to learn to fly.

Circling Back To It

Years later, I had an opportunity to fly with a friend, a flight instructor.  On the return leg of the trip, he put me in the left seat and, with his guidance, I flew the plane home.  All the way to landing.
I was hooked and did a happy dance, high heels and all, on the tarmac.  Immediately, I enlisted him as an instructor, found a plane to rent and began the training process.  It was fun, until….the dreaded stall recovery training.

When It Feels Really Awkward

This is the part where the instructor has you fly the airplane in such a way that it STOPS FLYING!  Yes, it falls out of the sky.  You are supposed to get the aircraft back into flight mode before loosing 200 feet of altitude.
I know, it sounds insane, but as a pilot, this is important for several reasons.  It ensures:
  • you are able to recognize the point at which the aircraft is about to stall, i.e. stop fling, and avoid it
  • should a stall occur, you know how to recover before loosing too much altitude.
  • you know how to deal with how AWKWARD this feels!
As we climbed to altitude for this lesson, my instructor told me how to recover from a stall then led me though the steps to get the airplane into a stall – and it did.  WHOMP.  All I could see was the ground looking back at me from at 5,000 feet.  I did the only logical thing:  squealed and grabbed his neck!
AWKWARD.  He got the airplane (and me) back under control and we returned to the airport.  A bad beginning… to something worth doing.

Let’s Define It

So what is this thing called AWKWARD?
  • uncomfortable – outside one’s comfort zone
  • a place where fear tries to come aboard
  • embarrassing – a place where pride and humility collide
  • it can be funny if we let it – I don’t yet do this well.
Ultimately, we laughed about it and proceeded to work through the process again.  Was it worth doing?  Absolutely.  I continue to enjoy flying to this day.

The Times – When It Feels Awkward

This season of continued recovery coupled with global upheaval has an awkwardness about it.  Daily life feels out of sync; out of timing. There are certain activities that keep me centered:  Daily prayer, exercise and planning.  Even when those plans are challenged with the awkwardness of the times, I still make a plan.

When It Feels Awkward, Rescue!

My quest to rescue stories and giving them a voice is also a core activity.  It allows me to reach beyond some of the awkwardness of the current season into another time.

But more than that, encouraging you to do the same, gives me a quest beyond myself.  I challenge you to find a way to give your stories a voice.  A voice that will last.  Write them down.  Record them.  Then share them with someone.  Share them with me!  It can be quite a healthy diversion.
Here is a link to a resource that will help.
This week, pick an awkward moment, then write it down!  Laugh, smile, and let go as you write.  Then, let us in on it – post in the comments!

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