Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I always wanted to be a pilot, but life got in the way

The other night I was driving and A Long December, by the Counting Crows, came on the radio.


For whatever reason, this song always reminds me of Steve and his ex...and how his path in life could have been SO different.  It was a high school into college relationship that ended badly and quickly.  If the relationship didn't end, Steve may have been one of those guys who said "I always wanted to be a pilot, but life got in the way."

Time and time again, both Steve and I come across people who give us that line: "I always wanted to be a pilot, but..."

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At our old house we had a neighbor across the street, let's call him Eeyore, who wanted to be a pilot. In fact, he was even in the same program as Steve (probably a decade or two earlier), but quit during, or something like this

Who knows the real reason Eeyore quit the program, but my hunch is that "life got in the way."  I think there were relationship issues that may have played into things.  This is just what we have pieced together, so who knows the real truth.  But, time and time again Eeyore would come over and talk to Steve about this and that about flying, so we knew he was fascinated with aviation.

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So, why don't people follow their dream of becoming a pilot?  Well, to start: learning to fly isn't cheap, and I bet this may be the biggest hurdle.  Being away so much isn't easy, to add.  And, not everyone can physically handle the schedule.  Lots of people get out of flying for a lot of reason, and these are the ones that first come to mind. 

Steve made it.  Sure, he wanted to quit a couple times, like after his first long flight, which I think only took 2 hours, but he kept going.  And keep in mind that when I met Steve he was already a pilot.  So, I wasn't with him in his struggles at first.  If I were with him during this part of the ride, I am sure I could comment a lot more.

The one part of Steve that makes him who he is, is his occupation. He would hate to admit that, but flying is in his blood...all the guys that have made it this far do it because they love it.  Quitting is easier than dealing with all the shit they deal with, so you know the roots run deep. 

see that tatoo on his arm? Those are wings...this is just proof that flying is a part of him.  

I am sure there are plenty of times when Steve thinks about why he got into this career.  Heck, there are times when I question why I agreed to marry someone who is gone all the time.  But you know what, Steve followed his dreams, and for that I am proud.  For as many times as he gripes about this and that, there are that many experiences that this job can afford. 

Steve never has to say "I always wanted to be a pilot."  He is one!  He is one of the men walking around the airport, who little kids look up to.  As a matter of fact, he may even be that man walking through the airport that ladies might say something something positive about a man in uniform.  He is the father of two children who look up into the sky and says "Hi Daddy!" at the passing plane.  He is the father who is totally focused on the kids when he is home, because he leaves his job at the airport.  What he misses in days away from home, he makes up for in his time with the kids. 

I am glad that life never got in the way of Steve's dream.  Steve is "living the dream."  I know pilots kick this phrase around a lot, but with a sad tone.  Take a step back and think about it...you are living the dream!  You once dreamed about this life, and you made it.  Yes, life may be different now than it was back then.  You may have a wife and children now, so being away is that much harder.  But, think about what you have accomplished and where you are.  You made it...you always wanted to be a pilot, you became one, and this is your life!

3 comments:

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  2. It's great how you guys support each other.

    My DH always wanted to be a pilot, but thought his previous career was the more practical way to go. I'm so glad he made the switch. It fits his personality so much better, and he is much happier (although we'd be in half the debt if he'd just become a pilot from the start!)

    We've known many couples where the pilot left the profession due to pressures from the wife. I always think how resentful those guys must deep down, no matter what they claim.

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  3. ah, the resentment...I bet they do have it, even though they may not admit it. No doubt.

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