A view from my side.
“Solar radiation heats the Earth’s crust. Hot air rises, cool air descends…Turbulence. I don’t like it.” So says Jack Ryan in the movie “The Hunt for Red October” when the flight attendant suggests he try to get some sleep on his transcontinental flight. I’ve experienced some pretty violent turbulence in my time and I’m with Jack on this one…I don’t like it.
Recently I’ve been traveling a bit more than usual and have found myself on airplanes. I’m not a jet hopper like many people today, but I’ve been on my share of flights over the years. I’ve traveled to Asia, Europe, Mexico, coast-to-coast, as well as regionally across the United States. On just about every flight, I’ve experienced “some” turbulence. But yesterday, whew. Both on the flight from Boston the D.C. and from D.C. back home there was a whole lotta shakin’ going on.
The passengers and crew took it all in stride and I could hear the seat belts clicking as those who unbuckle while seated strapped in. There were the audible gasps and the “ooooooo’s” and “aaaaaah’s” of surprise as we jumped, bumped, and tilted our way through the rough air. The pilot came over the intercom, warning us of a few minutes of free roller coaster emulation as he pushed through the air space. A few drinks were spilled and then it was over. I have always loved that moment when the calm returns, but I’m really not sure if the turbulence is over or not. There’s a pregnant pause in the air when everyone on board is waiting, still griping the armrests, reluctant to let go lest there be one final jolt about to hit. When we realize we are through it, I can feel the stress levels drop in myself as well as the other passengers. A feeling of relief comes over the cabin and you feel, more than hear, the collective “whew” of the group as we all realize that, in the words of Bob Marley, “every little thing gonna be alright.”
Of course, life is also full of its own turbulence. And, as on the plane, some people handle it better than others. I think back sometimes about the turbulence in my life, the rough patches I’ve gone through. I’ve always taken an existential approach, the “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” sort of thing. And the same goes with my running. I experience all kinds of turbulence in my running routine. Basically, life interferes or gets in the way. “I can’t run today because…”
I’ve learned over my life not to fight the turbulence, but to embrace it. I respect it but at the same time, I make it my own. I take responsibility for how I handle it and I work it into my life. Sometimes, as on the plane yesterday, I simply ride it out. Other times, as when the turbulence results in something more life changing (see the title of this blog site, for example), I adapt, make changes, push through the rough air, and move on, hopefully better off and on a better path. I don’t thrive on the turbulence, but I certainly don’t shy away from it either. I meet it head on, gauge the impact it is going to have on my life and put it in its proper place. Sometimes, you just gotta love the Turbulence.