Takeoffs and Touchdowns

Taking off in a plane is one of my favorite things in the world.

It’s a moment ripe with possibility. The act of becoming airborne compresses you further back into your seat even as it hurls you forward, you spiral upward into the clouds, first tucking away your landing gear, then gaining altitude, then setting a course for someplace new.

Touching down on a runway can be equally exciting.

When the wings change shape to slow your forward motion, the landing gear descends, and the massive mechanism that’s been carrying you smoothly glides downward, lightly tapping the pavement before resting its full weight back on the ground, coils of metal and well-oiled joints absorbing the brunt of what would otherwise be a traumatic impact.

Life is full of takeoffs and touchdowns, and it’s important to experience many of both.

Without the former, it’s easy to assume the world you were born into is the only world there is. You lack the perspective to know what things look like from high above, or from other airports.

Without the latter, it’s easy to forget what life is like at sea-level, among the trees and hills, rather than the clouds and atmosphere. To know what it’s like to be still, rather than always moving.

After you start flying, it can be difficult to remember to stop, take stock, and identify imbalances. This is true whether your aircraft is of the metaphorical sort, or a literal vehicle.

Explore, but be cognizant of your life and what you’re doing with it, regardless of what angle, speed, or distance from which you might be viewing it. This will allow you to adjust quickly to new situations, instigate changes as necessary, and make the most of wherever you happen to end up.

Update: April 12, 2017

It’s probably pretty obvious, from all the travel metaphors I use, that a lot of the ideas for my writings come to me when I’m settling in for a seven hour flight or two-day train ride. I don’t always write from the road, but I do take a whole lot of notes for later writings.

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