Sadly the answer is not 42.
I’m not sure there really is an answer actually, but some slightly more specific questions will, of course, have slightly more specific answers.
Living life in the short-term is easy. You just think about what it is you want to be doing today, tomorrow, maybe even next week. You plan trips and holidays for later in the year and you think about ways to pay for everything and just focus on a means to survive. The medium-term isn’t much different. For me, the medium-term covers the next couple of years, the time during which I have definite contract work scheduled, time during which I know for sure I’ll have some form of income, as sporadic as it may be.
My dilemma comes in a variety of guises and eventually, when I finally focus enough to see through the outer layers, is revealed to really be a question of what happens in the long-term.
What has gotten me questioning things like this? Well it’s simple really – I’ve found a new love, something that has captured my imagination and my soul and is something that with things the way they are happens to be completely unsustainable.
Anyone that knows me will know that I tend to not do things by halves. A symptom of a chronic lack of self-esteem perhaps? A product of being bullied as a child and never feeling like I could ever be good enough? However you choose to look at things/me from a psychological perspective, the end result is that whenever I find something I feel is worth doing, I tend to throw everything I can at it. I’m a constant underachiever inside my head – no matter how others may view me and the things I do, deep down inside I know it’s never enough, which is why I keep on trying, fighting and flying.
And this is where we get to: flying. I’ve always wanted to fly. Gaining my Private Pilot’s License was one of my life highlights. Never before had I worked so hard for something that meant so much to me, which is why having to stop flying after I quit my job was so painful. Finally getting back into in the past few months has been something of a trial though – I’ve felt at once incompetent, useless and unconfident. Meeting Paul and taking my first few flights in the Pitts Special started to change those feelings though, and hence I now find myself in a short/medium/long-term dilemma…
I want to fly. I need it, this is a big part of who I am. It’s an odd thing to do though – many of the days I’m due to fly I tend to wake up in the morning full of dread, wishing for bad weather so I don’t have to go. I don’t understand why this should be, because upon climbing into the cockpit those feelings instantly start to melt away. Feeling the weight of your fears dissolve as the cushion of lift pushes you off up into the sky is something quite special, for me only topped by the challenge that finding a focus in the freedom of aerobatic movement has started to give me. I need this, like a junkie needs their next hit, somehow I can’t let go and in fact, I don’t want to.
Ok so it’s not as simple as just wanting to fly, I don’t just want to fly, I want to fly aerobatics. I want to learn to fly the Pitts Special, and by that I don’t just mean becoming able to get her into the air and back down onto the ground again safely (although these two elements are a major challenge in themselves), but being able to understand how she handles, feel instinctively how to treat her and fly in partnership with her, carrying out manoeuvres and sequences that at first feel impossible, but upon learning feel unlike anything else you could ever imagine.
There is another element to this dilemma though – being the way I am, just learning to fly aerobatics won’t be enough, I know I’ll want to do more. Is this something I could be good at? Really good? I don’t know, but I need to find out. Somehow.
Sounds simple so far doesn’t it? I know what I want so I’ve just got to find a way to do it right? Well this is where the long-term issues start to rear their ugly heads. How on earth do I afford this? In the short to medium terms, I have the means to continue but not for long, and in the long-term I have no way to sustain the habit, financially it is crippling.
“If you want it enough, you’ll find a way.”
So here we are, I need to find that way. I’m not sure my field of engineering can sustain me in the long-term, the radio industry is evolving rapidly at the moment and I can see it changing into something that no longer captures my interest, and I’m not someone who can live life working a job that I hate – I need to be inspired, I need to enjoy what I’m doing, especially if my life is dominated by the time it takes. It’s all well and good having hobbies that grant you freedom and satisfaction, but if the work you do in order sustain them leaves you resenting the need, then what is the point?
I’ve got some big decisions to make – I’m not looking for any sympathy here, this isn’t that kind of blog posting. I’m incredibly lucky – I have a life that has options, I have a husband willing to support me in whatever I decide and I have the chance to learn a skill that is truly breathtaking. I just need to find a way to make it happen.