Change is one of the hardest things we go through and yet, it is also an inevitable, consistent, constant element of our lives.

In the words of the world famous performer David Bowie,

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changesTurn and face the strangeCh-ch-changesDon’t want to be a richer manCh-ch-ch-ch-changesTurn and face the strangeCh-ch-changesThere’s gonna have to be a different manTime may change meBut I can’t trace time

You must see this iconic video here: https://youtu.be/4BgF7Y3q-as

This picture of me in the pink flyGIRL tee was right smack dab in the middle of all sorts of changes going on in my life. I was in the middle of a divorce, trying to figure out how to navigate the changes in my life, and my kid’s lives. I was also embarking on a totally different endeavor of becoming a pilot and running a business. It was so stressful. I was sleep-deprived, and the skinniest I’d ever been because of the stress and worry that consumed me. In the midst of all of the personal challenges, I was also trying to figure out what I wanted to be and do, in all aspects of my life, including aviation. Historically, I have been a bit of a control freak. I used to consider myself a Type A personality. I can honestly say going through so much personally and professionally has helped me release that battle for control. So, that’s a plus, right?? Things have not been the way I thought they would be. I can’t force anyone to think or feel a certain way. I can only deal with how I feel. Even if that’s confusing or hard for others to understand, that doesn’t mean it’s not valid.

Not only are women the minority in aviation, but we are not always the decision-makers. Our bosses, spouses, kids, siblings, moms, dads, etc. dictate much of our daily lives. For me personally, I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure out what other people want me to be and do, in order to satisfy them, make them happy, and/or make them love me. More recently, there have been many times that I’ve had to remind myself that I cannot control how others feel. That has become more and more apparent with time. It’s not up to me. It’s not my job to make someone else happy. Especially, if that means giving up a part of myself. That will never lead to happiness.

With that said, I’m not an advocate for hurting others. It’s an awful feeling when you know someone is suffering because of a decision you’ve made. Hurting those in your circle will inevitably hurt you as well. You should always try to express your feelings and personal desires with the goal of trying to find a way to support one another.

I’ve gone through many changes throughout my aviation journey, personally and professionally. I’m still going through changes. I still don’t know where all of this will lead. I only say yes to things, that are satisfying or exciting, to me. How others feel about it isn’t my problem. Or, more specifically (without sounding too bitchy) is that if I try to do things to make others happy, I will fail. I can’t make everyone happy! And, in the end, I’ll be the one that loses, or is left unsatisfied. I do believe a huge part of this “growth” is my actual growth and physical age. As we get older, I think we learn more about ourselves and are more comfortable voicing our opinions.

All of these changes have created an individual that is more flexible and more forgiving. I know what it’s like to be unsure. I don’t have the answers. I don’t expect anyone else to have the answers for me.

What I want women (and men, for that matter) to know is that your journey is uniquely yours. You aren’t like anyone else. You don’t have to do things the way someone else has. There is no reason for you to apologize for having different dreams or goals than anyone else.

No one really knows much of anything. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year. Whatever it is, I hope to learn from it. I hope to support others that are facing changes. I hope we can all grow together, without judgement. And, always move forward with hope.