After my divorce, even the thought of dating brought a sickness into my stomach. But I knew in order to move on with my life I would just have to rip that bandage off in one possibly painful swoop. Slowly but surely, it would get easier and I wouldn't wince before the pull. There is no one there to rescue you from a potential bad date or stop you from saying something embarrassing. The outcome of the night could be amazing, or an absolute letdown.
I had similar feelings of anxiety when it came to flying on my own. Like having a girlfriend tables away, ready to rescue you from a bad date, just the fact that someone else was beside me, pilot or not, provided me with an extra sense of protection. This way, I somehow falsely believed I didn't have to depend completely upon myself. I have an extra set of eyes backing me up and I have another pair of ears listening for my registration number on the radio.
In my new-found independence I've learned it's important to seek balance. It's great to fly through life with courage and solo, but it's perfectly acceptable to seek assistance as well. An example would be practicing pattern work after an absence from the cockpit. The only harm having a certified flight instructor (CFI) join you is to your pocketbook. The advice and critique from a CFI is invaluable and you may even learn something new! I recently completed my biannual flight review which included nine touch and go landings to refresh my skills. Seeing my CFI relaxed in the seat, enjoying the view while I flew gave me the reassurance I had been needing. I can solo.
If it's been awhile since you've flown, I'd encourage anyone to get quickly refreshed with a CFI and then follow that by solo flight to prove to yourself that yes, you can! Not all of my nine landings were the amazing, but neither are all your possible dates. It's just something that comes with the territory with flying into new airports and meeting new people.
|9 landings and a river run, ready to solo!|