Today, I saw that it had been five years since I did something that changed the course of my life. I was TERRIFIED of flying, and because of my phobia, I missed out on a ton of opportunities over the years. Then, five years ago, Jerry, the kids, and I were visiting my brother, Brian, in Minnesota. We were at the hanger where his friend Steve keeps a couple of airplanes--just barbecuing burgers and hanging out. Steve offered to take Jerry and I up in The Breezy, a little open one-engine airplane.
Of course, I said absolutely not. There was nothing that was going to get me on that plane! Jerry went on it, and had a blast. He took some great pictures, and I thought how awesome those would be for a Facebook profile photo. A few other friends of Steve's that were there went up for rides, and I started to think about whether I could make myself do it. It would shock everyone I knew, for sure. To get me on a regular airplane would have been shocking, but The Breezy? Nobody would believe it!
I was so nervous that I went in the bathroom was actually dry heaving, feeling like I would vomit from the nerves alone. I kept telling myself that it was only five minutes or so of my life--and when would I get an opportunity like this again? I had just lost over 100 pounds, so certainly I could spend five minutes on an airplane (or so I told myself).
Finally, Steve was ready to put The Breezy away for the evening, unless I wanted to give it a go. I was shaking like a leaf, but I sat down and strapped myself in. I told Steve that if he saw me crying, it was okay, just get us back on the ground safely ;) I can still remember how dry my mouth was as we started taxiing.
As soon as we lifted off, it was like the fear just evaporated from my body. The view was amazing, and Steve didn't do anything crazy (per my request, of course!). It was a warm summer evening, the sun was starting to set, and it was just gorgeous. I loved it! Here is a really great video that Brian put together for me...
Those moments on The Breezy changed the course my life, because after that, I realized that I could force myself to do scary things and maybe I would like them. Two weeks later, I was on a (commercial) airplane heading to Minnesota, where I would run the Ragnar Relay Great River.
I've since flown all over the place: NYC, Miami, Portland, San Diego, the Dominican Republic, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix, and probably some I'm forgetting. I've met some amazing people in these places, thanks to my blog, and some of them have become my closest friends. I was able to see my childhood friend Sarah get married in Phoenix, and my brother get married in Minnesota; I was able to surprise my sister for her first half-marathon in Illinois; I was able to spend a week in Punta Cana with my family; I was even a guest on The Dr. Oz Show in NYC!
Five years ago, when I sat down on The Breezy, I had no idea that it would be such a life-changing moment. I'm so glad that I faced my fear in the way that I did (it helps that my brother is a pilot, and has some pretty awesome pilot friends!).