September 1st, 2009

planet

way too many pre-solo hours

I'm awake at 2 am because I woke up, and something put "flying" in my head, and then I couldn't get back to sleep to save my life. I had a lesson tonight. We picked a runways with some crosswinds, I went out and did a dozen or so landings. He didn't have to get on the controls ever, I get points for that. But my landings weren't all "passable" either... they have to be on the center line. They have to be smooth.

I hit 40 hours this week and it's just looming over me all the time like a cloud. At the school another instructor I'd flown with asked if I'd soloed yet, because it's the perpetual question, and I told him I was still just close and another instructor said he had a student in the exact same situation. He asked me how many hours I had. 40. I asked how many his student had. 25. That's normal. People solo around 20. I am not normal. As my hours creep up I think maybe this is a lesson for me, maybe God wants me to deal with defeat.

One part of me says to get over it, go up Thursday, Thursday will surely be my last lesson before I can take the progress check again. Of course I said that about this lesson too. But my instructor and I mutually agreed I needed... something. He said, "I want you to go up and right off the bat do three good landings. That's what it'll take... you said it yourself that it takes you five just to warm up. I know you're anxious but you're so close." I am always so close. He assured me I've made so much progress. It's his job to say that.

There was so much I wanted from all this. Wanted to take my family on airplane rides, at least take my husband. Wanted to tell you all that I'd done it. Wanted to be part of the neat circle of pilots I've gotten to know on Twitter. But I'm not cut out for this. And I woke up at 2, going over my "I'm quitting" speech in my head that I'll have to have with my instructor. Maybe he'll feel let down because I'm close? Or worse... he won't be. He'll admit he's known all along that this wasn't meant to be and he's been encouraging because it's what I want. I'm scared about hearing that.

It really hurts. I go over other things I'm good at. Oh I'm not fabulous, I'm mediocre, but at least I'm above average at math, writing, initiative. I can be a good friend. I've turned out to be a good wife. It's going to be so hard working at an airplane company, seeing airplanes every day, knowing I couldn't cut it as a pilot.

The only thing I can say about Thursday is that it's supposed to be kinda stormy and bumpy, like it will be the rest of this week, and it's good that I'm doing a practice flight instead of a progress check in that sort of weather. What would have been the sense in nailing it tonight like I'd hoped and then taking a progress check that might be cut short for weather like my last one? So maybe it's good? And then in my head I see myself taking the progress check on a nice day, then having my first solo on a nice day, then telling everyone...

But will it feel worth it, or will it feel like finishing a meal that was always too much for you? Will I just feel beat up and still defeated and afraid of the road ahead? I feel like a round peg being pushed through a square hole. If I make it after all this time, it doesn't say anything good about the situation, just that we forced it through.

They say it's not for everyone. They're right. I just hoped that somehow it'd be for me.