Can I Feel Good About Flying After Malaysia Air Flight 370?
The disappearance of Malaysia Air flight 370 scares me. Although we don’t yet know what took place, clearly something went terribly wrong. Statistically, a drive to the local supermarket is much more dangerous than any flight on a commercial airliner. Meant to be reassuring, this nugget of logical reasoning just leaves me antsy about both flying and driving. What I find most unsettling is that those very odds may have emboldened the passengers on flight 370 to get on that plane.
Because of this particular irrationality, at 30,000 feet I’m stuck distracting myself reading mindless drivel (thank you Brangelina). On an overseas flight, this can be mind-numbing, but any reading heavier than that, and I can’t stay focused. Deep yoga-style breathing helps, too. Relax the shoulders, relax the forehead, relax the jaw….
Why fly at all if it’s such a production? Well, for starters, there’s no other way to see the world, and I refuse to be bullied by what is essentially a bad case of monkey mind. I also want my kids to understand that even raging anxiety can (and must) be tamed.
So as I settle into a flight, and hear the final thunk of the door closing, the clicking of the overhead bins, and the revving of the engines, my mantra is “I’m showing my kids how to be brave.” Kids are pretty tuned in to their parents, and I know that my kids feel my tension when we fly.
Embracing air travel has become my low-risk way of demonstrating to my kids that sometimes you have to push through the discomfort of uncertainty to get what you want in life. It’s a valuable skill. They’ll need it the first time they move out on their own. They’ll need it when they have to ask for a raise. They’ll need it when they fall in love.
So I fly. Again and again.
Have tips for nervous flyers? Please share!