I have a love-hate relationship with Alaska. I love the beauty and splendor of what surrounds me. I love the uniqueness that comes with living in Alaska. I love the small town feel even though we live in the biggest state in the United States. The people are down-to-earth and no-nonsense.
On the other hand, I hate how isolated we are. I hate the road system consists of basically 3 main highways: one going South to Homer, one going North toward Fairbanks, and one going Northeast toward Canada. To get down to the Lower 48, you can always drive the AL-CAN or take the ferry but count on at least a 4-5 day trip. And, who has that much time when you only have a week or two for vacation? So, what do I hate the most about living in Alaska? I hate that the only quick way out of Alaska is to fly and I HATE to fly.
I’m a terrible flyer. I get anxious and panicky days before we have to fly. It’s on my mind constantly. And as the time to fly nears, I get worse: racing heart at just the thought of take-off and landing, sweat pouring from my pores at the thought of the small bumps we always encounter, and let’s not mention the bigger bumps that pilots like to call “minor turbulence” those thoughts bring me to tears.
I know…I have a serious problem.
When I’m lucky enough to have my husband with me as we fly, poor Steve ends up with nail marks in his arm and a mess of a wife. He reminds me that “flying is safer than driving” but that gives me no solace; give me a car and an open road and I am a much happier camper. But when I have to fly alone, which I have had to do the past couple of trips, I do my best to hold it together. I load up on the Cortisol Manager and even order a drink or two to calm my nerves. I set my watch to my destination’s time so I know exactly how much more time I have to endure surging through the air at 500 miles per hour, 37,000 feet above the sweet ground.
Years ago, I learned a mantra that I teach my elementary school kids when they are feeling anxious or upset. It’s one that I use myself and will even admit to them that I use it when I am feeling scared and uneasy: like when I am flying. This mantra runs through my head as we take-off, during each bump we hit, when I feel my heart racing because there’s a strange noise, as panic sets in because I am stuck in this plane, and when we land. It has gotten me through many-a-flights and will hopefully get me through many-a-more…like the one I am on now…
I AM SAFE. I AM CALM. I CAN HANDLE THIS.