A fear of flying

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A fear of flying

photo via Grey News

photo via Grey News

photo via Grey News

photo via Grey News

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For those of us lucky enough to have experienced it, flying is exhilarating. For a breathtaking moment, we feel weightless. The fact that we live in a universe where technology has made it possible to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in under ten hours is astonishing. Our ancestors couldn’t even imagine a world where such a thing was possible and we take this ability for granted. 

 

Recently, as the very publicized death of NBA star Kobe Bryant has become a major headline, I have been thinking more about the phenomenon of flying. I personally love flying, the transcendent and all encompassing joy which hits like a punch to the gut when walking onto the plane. If it were up to me, I would sit in the window seat, staring at clouds for hours. Time seems to stop and all the annoyances and nuances of daily life fall away. 

 

With the convenience of flying, it has grown in popularity. Many of us have grown so used to the phenomenon that we ignore the pre-flight safety demonstration in favor of an interesting novel or our favorite song. Instead of worrying about the journey, passengers place trust in the experience of the pilot and crew and focus on the destination.

 

However, hurtling through the air at thousands of miles an hour also naturally brings a certain element of fear. We worry about crashing, malfunctions and human error alike. Before take off, passengers are trained, prepared for the worst case scenario. Flight attendants demonstrate the proper use of calamity gear; oxygen masks, life jackets and warnings which keep the environment and those on board safe. 

 

The  Federal Flight Association does its best to limit injuries experienced by fliers and flight crews, but it impossible to plan for every extenuating circumstance. While more people die in car crashes than aerial accidents, flying feels exponentially more frightening than operating several ton motor vehicle. 

 

The next time my mom flies somewhere for work, I will make sure to tell her I love her before she embarks on her journey. All of the people we hold dear will eventually die. Death is as certain as it is spontaneous. Cherishing the time we are able to hold them close is all we can truly do. Send that “I love you” text, tell your friend you appreciate having them in your life and remember your mom is just expressing how much she truly cares, even when she’s overbearing. Life is short and deserves to be made the most of. Even though you might not be taking a flight anytime soon, remember to take control of your path and respect the certainty of change.