Modern life, it seems, is saturated with … everything. I tend to be one of those people who is deadline driven anyway, so most everything I do seems to get done right at the last minute—or not quite.
Pilots by and large are Type A personalities. We pretty much have to be so that we can take charge of our destiny in flight and not become a victim of what the universe throws at us. We Type A folks tend to take on too much, do it perhaps obsessively, and then move on to the next challenge. Repeat.
How many of you planned to fly in the last month but didn’t. Come on, now, raise your hands. There, I see a few going up … okay, now a few more. Good. It seems we have a majority. And, if your life is anything like mine, I know why. You’re too busy. Yeah … right…
Why do we fly? For some of us, it’s merely a job. It’s a pleasant job, sure, and maybe even rewarding, but a job nonetheless. In a way, I feel sorry for those folks. At one point they might have had the joy of flying, but along the way with impossible schedules, reserve, furloughs, strikes, etc., they’ve lost that joy. Too bad.
At the other end of the spectrum are those of us who are simply passionate about flight. If we couldn’t fly on the job or for other purposeful reasons, we’d still find a way. We’ll fly anything we can get our hands on. Me? I’m closer to the second group than the first, although to be honest I’ve been in both.
But even if flying remains a joy, we don’t fly enough, do we? I’d like to log a few hours every week. Nearly all of my flying is purposeful; I travel by my own airplane because I have places to go. I log around 100 to 120 hours a year now, but it comes in bunches separated by breaks of a month or two where I never just go flying, and don’t even visit the hangar … because I’m too busy.
We have three good reasons to fly: 1) We like it; it’s refreshing and rewarding. 2) Our airplanes like the activity and will likely give us longer service if they get regular use. 3) Frequency leads to proficiency. That’s a triple win. What more do we want? But … we’re too busy.
What can we do about that? Resolving to fly more doesn’t work; I do that a few times a year and it lasts, uh, until the next deadline. I’m certainly not smart enough to propose some grand social movement where our modern life suddenly has fewer stressors, less to do, more time. It’s kind of like that diet I’m always contemplating. I eat properly until the next social meal or other excuse.
It probably comes down to priorities. Maybe I just mentally keep that triple win from flying suppressed in the back of my mind. The airplane is always there; I can go fly tomorrow if I’m too busy today. Repeat.
That might be it. Every morning and every evening, I’ll prioritize my list of things to do, keeping flying on that list, and see if I can implement the high priority I place on flight. Yep, that just might work … unless I’m too busy.