This past week was busy and full of challenges. Maybe for you, as well. The excitement and work that has gone into the flyGIRL scholarship announcement came to a head at Sporty?s last Saturday. That was such an extraordinary afternoon for me. To help another young woman pursue her dream, filled me with a satisfaction never personally experienced.

My oldest son graduated from high school. He made it; he?s still alive! My house was full of family members visiting to witness his accomplishment. It?s surreal to watch this young man, that?s been under my wing, embark on a whole new chapter. He?s currently a little lost about what he wants to do with himself, understandably. His life will unfold in ways no one can predict.

Doing My Best

Probably the most stressful part of my week was preparing for my final stage check before my instrument rating training check ride is scheduled. This rating is a challenge! A good performance is extremely important to me. I really want to perform well during my oral exam, master all of the approaches and blow the examiner away. Eking by is unacceptable to me.

Finding enough time to study is always a challenge. It?s still fun for me to go over some of the things I?ve been learning since Day One. Each note card brings back a special memory from a flight or is a reminder of how far I?ve come in less than two years. I can remember when some of the concepts would finally “click” and make sense. When writing the note cards out at the beginning of my private pilot days, some of the FAR?s, definitions and/or descriptions were so overwhelming and foreign to me. Doubt would creep in that maybe I was in over my head. Many of those concepts had to be experienced before they were fully understood. My instructor can attest that my learning style requires hands-on repetition. Oh boy! If I could just read something and understand it…my aviation fuel bill would be at least half of what it is! Note to others: flight training will definitely cut into your wardrobe allowance. BOO!

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

Since beginning my aviation journey 21 months ago, I?ve proceeded through private pilot training, become an aircraft owner, flown across the U.S. and have logged over 400 hours. Hopefully, my instrument rating will be solidified in a few days. There are other ratings and many more hours of flying planned in my future. I am often asked: “What are your future plans in aviation?” Admittedly, this question leaves me feeling a little like my recent high school graduate son. Is it nuts to start forging a new path?

Trying to put into words what flying has done for me recently is extremely complex. There have been numerous rewarding experiences and exciting new friendships formed. I?ve introduced aviation and shared my experiences with various young ladies and children. There have been many new places explored by me in my little plane. All great things! This is the first time something has been so personally rewarding for me. It?s produced a confidence in myself never known. I?m very fortunate to be able to fly around and see new places in my own airplane. The sense of accomplishment felt after each landing is inexplicable.

The Challenges

It?s also been a challenge. My first flight, nearly two years ago, opened my eyes to new possibilities. Honestly, that?s been a real struggle for my family. Acknowledging that being a full-time mom for the past 18 years and raising a family hasn?t completely fulfilled me, has been an adjustment. My kids watch me studying instead of cleaning their rooms. Home made meals are a thing of the past (for the record, cooking has never been my thing). They do their own laundry (and not very well, I?ll add). It?s gotten real easy for me to say no to things that aren?t enjoyable. Some of these things I?ve been doing for years.

Balancing my dreams while living out commitments to my family is demanding. In some ways, life is easier when we stay the course and don?t open Pandora?s box. For me, it?s been more difficult to bury my curiosity for the unknown and new challenges. I want to build a new career for myself around aviation. At my age, it?s uncomfortable admitting that. Most people are supportive. My kids look at me with curiosity. They say “You?re a mom” Or “Aren?t you too old for that?” My reply: “Hell no!” OK. That?s a lie. Southern ladies don?t use profanity around their children (that doesn?t mean I?m not thinking it though).

What I Want Others to Know

What I?ve learned is that there doesn?t have to be an age limit on new interests or paths. Life is always evolving. Don?t put limits on yourself. I?m not sure what lies ahead for me. Currently, I?m just enjoying each new flight path. My life is still unfolding for me just as it is for my 18 year old son.