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White clouds, white knuckles.
White clouds, white knuckles. (Photo:

Fighting flying fears

Today, I posted an article about the fear of flying. I started researching this article a few weeks ago because of my own anxiety over air travel.

It's very strange to me: until about five years ago, I loved flying. However, within four or five travel experiences, I went from loving it to hating it.

In December, flying back from New Orleans, I was to the stress-filled point of reminding myself to breathe, and I don't really know why. I have never been on a scary flight – in fact, I have had almost seamless air travel experiences.

Friends said they hated to fly after they had kids because they worried about orphaning them. This might be part of it for me, but for the first years of my kids' lives I flew multiple times and it didn't bother me.

Others have told me that for some, midlife brings a deeper understanding of mortality and makes us think about the possibility of death more. Great. I thought we got wiser as we aged, not more afraid?

I will say this: writing this article both relieved and aggravated my fears. I interviewed a captain of a major airline (he was unable to disclose his full name or the airline) and he said incredibly powerful things about the extensive training programs pilots go through.

I told him at the end of our interview that I wanted him to fly every plane I boarded for the rest of my life. At the very least, I know I will remember his reassuring words the next time I fly.

But I might also resort to reading stupid celeb magazines and drinking more booze during flights. We'll see.


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