First... Thursday I was an emotional wreck. I'd just learned that two good friends of mine had been laid off, and many more were worried about their jobs, and it got so bad I had to take 30 minutes or so in the afternoon to just go to the private bathroom downstairs and sob. For the record, I've cried at work like three times in my entire seven-year career, craziness happens all the time and I'm tough. But Thursday, it was all happening.
After that, I sucked it up and figured I could go fly. You're not really supposed to fly under emotional strain, they say, but I figured I'm tough, and like always there's an instructor there, so what's stopping me? But it was one of those flights where nothing went right, I was screwing up maneuvers that I'd done on previous lessons, I couldn't keep the steps in my head, nothing was automatic, nothing clicked. On the ground afterwards, I felt angry. I think the stress of the day may very well have affected me without me knowing it.
Flash forward for today. It wasn't perfect, but every time I repeated something, I did it a little better. I felt better. I wasn't frustrated. I heard radio calls and responded... sometimes even said the right thing.
I used to be a high jumper. I think flying is sort of like that. It's repetitive, but you have to change your game to match the conditions of the day. Every little mental thing matters. It's weird because I notice these similar patterns that I remember from track days... focus depends on what I've eaten and who I've talked to and how bad I want it, if I go in feeling aggressive like I'm gonna take it, I do okay. If I'm scared of it, it gets me. I'm not sure everyone is this involved as a student but it's what it takes from me now. I'm always exhausted when I get done. These lessons involve an hour and a half or so of time in the air and I'm IN IT, but about an hour after I'm on the ground and have food in my stomach I'm ready to pass out. Like now, yup, I'm definitely heading down.