A turbulent takeoff

The future is scary, but the fear is worth it

The fast-approaching future can be intimidating to many high schoolers. Senior Madison Geering writes about how, although one may face turbulence along the way, life is bound to turn out alright in the end. (Kara Barragan)

It starts out like a leisurely car ride. The plane spurs into motion and you peer out the window, gawking at the other aircrafts and marveling at the idea that you too will soon be launched into the air. Everything is calm and exciting; you know exactly where you’re going, and that sense of direction centers you.

As the plane continues to slowly rumble along the runway, you observe your surroundings. You are comforted by the familiar landscapethe vibrant geography that comprises your identity. This is home. This is familiar. 

This is safe.

And just as that last thought hurtles into you, the plane lurches forward, beginning its acceleration towards the vast sky. A squealing, whining sound fills your mind as the vehicle speeds up, and you think to yourself, This is it. If this plane crashes, I’ve missed my last chance to get off.

There’s no slowing down. The laws of motion pull you back into your seat, and the seatbelt becomes more of a restraint than a safety measure. And then, you’re gasping desperately for any molecule of oxygen, and you swallow the rising nausea in your throat and you clench your fist as if you could squash the overwhelming feeling of slow down slow down slow down.

Takeoff may be scary, but when we have the birds’ eye view above the clouds it’s easy to see that everything will work itself out.”

— Madison Geering

You risk a panicked look out the window to see that familiar landscape race by. Your eyes race to spot anything solid, anything still to hold onto. But the passing people, trees and landmarks morph into something else entirely. You now only see your life, and all sense of surety, blur by at an incomprehensible speed.

You are hurtling toward your future with no way out, no way back to the safety of your past. Head whirring with all of your regrets, you see flashes of what could have been, knowing well that the perfect potential of the past can do nothing to change the present. 

As the engine roars, you are jostled by the plane’s first attempt to leave the ground. Breathe, you tell yourself, but the air feels thin and you inhale in short bursts. It’s going to be okay, you coax, but as the hulking aircraft lifts from the Earth, you don’t really know what okay is. Up, up, up, you are tilted back in your seat, gravity crushing you under its weight. It’s almost as if the Earth is telling you to come back into it’s warm embrace. 

But you know there’s no return.

Remember where you’re going, you tell yourself, and you do. Eyes hesitantly opening, you didn’t realize you had closed them, you lose your breath once more, but this time it’s different. 

Soft peach clouds drift by in the golden morning sun, ocean sparkling with the first rays of light. It’s beautiful. 

Your future is beautiful.

It can be scary to depart from the comfort of our pasts, especially as high school seniors, who often know nothing except for the small world that we grew up in. Takeoff may be scary, but when we have the birds’ eye view above the clouds it’s easy to see that everything will work itself out.

We just have to trust that, despite the turbulence, life is a flight worth taking.