While I was surfing the web from my hospital bed, my roommate was learning to fly. No he wasn’t on any really good pharmaceuticals; he was head deep in text books, studying for the upcoming written test.
I found this interesting and encouraging in multiple ways. Here’s a guy in his sixties or seventies who is not grumbling or fretting about being in the cardiac wing of the hospital due to heart problems, but is actively working on doing something he wants to do.
When most people are satisfied with what they’ve learned, this man is cramming in the hard arithmetic equations I’ve been trying to forget like a bad memory. (When was the last time you voluntarily explained a quadratic equation or used the square root of the hypotenuse?) This isn’t the usual, almost casual bucket list items I’ve seen and made myself. This is a long term commitment. I was very impressed.
I was also impressed with how well he dealt with the pokes and prods administered by the nurses. I was grumbling, warning, and protesting the whole ordeal; he just said “Ok” to everything and went on reading while they did their thing.
This is also when I found out I am not the super optimistic/positive influence/happy type of patient I thought I’d be when I had to go to the hospital. I’m the type who will want to wander the halls and be doing anything but stay in bed type. Woe to the future nurses of any extended stay I must have. I’m not barky or the type to yell. Just impatient and ready to go.
My roommate, though, wow. Just another day at the office for him.
I’d like to have that detached sense of calm. To be able to focus on that one thing while the flies are buzzing all around you. But that’s not me. I can ignore one, maybe two flies buzzing around, but once a whole group start going, I start swatting and waving my arms like a bad version of the Macarena on speed.
Maybe his studies are the key to it all. Maybe by forcing his attention on all the math, rules and regulations, he kept himself distracted on his current situation while staying optimistic by actively working towards a future goal.
I don’t know. All I know is that he was very calm and content while there.
I did talk to him for a brief moment. I talked about how I built a model of a Piper Cherokee as a kid.
He talked about how the plane he’ll be flying is a Cessna. He also told me how the instructors are so sneaky on your first day of solo flight. They sit in the plane with you as you go through the check list, taxi with you as you head towards the runway. Listen as you call the tower for take-off, and then jump out at the last minute while telling you that you’re on your own and that you’ve got traffic piling up behind you as you look at them in shock.
Thinking about it now, maybe that’s the biggest lesson we can learn. Yes we might be in a place we don’t want to be for tests we don’t want to have, but for the most part we’ve all been in situations much scarier and difficult than this. We pulled out fine then. Why fret now?