Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, overcoming adversity

What if You Had the Advantages in Life That a Pilot Has Flying?

Many of us get on airplanes numerous times throughout the year.  We travel on planes for business and pleasure.  We reunite with family and friends, make important presentations, and some even travel long distances for affordable healthcare.  Ever wonder about the man or woman who is flying the plane and how prepared they are for various in-flight happenings?

Do you remember Capt. Sully who landed that jet in the Hudson River?  He’s one of the most prominent heroes in our modern-day culture.  We all watched videos of the landing as it was unfolding and now for years, we’ve had various accounts of the cockpit ordeal.  He attributed the success of the landing to years of experience and training.

One of the advantages that pilots have that we don’t have for our own lives is training in a simulator.  Pilots go in and learn how to divert catastrophe within these simulators.  They are trained for many hours in strategies to avert disaster based on mechanical or weather issues.  The question is always if under pressure can they access that training and information when it counts.

What if we had a simulator for life?  What if we could enter a training facility that gave us scenarios and we learned ways to cope and if we didn’t get it right the first time we got to try again?  Following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness wouldn’t you like a do-over?  What a luxury it would be to train in ways to handle the stress of a diagnosis, the insurmountable pile of insurance forms, or merely what it will take physically, emotionally, and spiritually to get up each day and face life’s biggest challenge…Living!

Unfortunately, we don’t have this life simulator as an option.  We are forced to live in a world with no second takes, no do-overs, and no rewind.  We are living a life of on-the-job-training and for some that’s very difficult because they don’t have the tools to cope with their health challenge.

Creating a personal toolbox of coping strategies and a support network to rely on will help easy the stress and strain of living life in real-time.  The more life experiences you have the more tools you’ll collect.  The key is to assimilate these life experiences into your being so when you need them the most; they are accessible.  Living with a health challenge poses many new life situations that no one every told us was a possibility.  For many, it’s uncharted territory and that can be scary.

What’s in your life toolbox?  How is it helping you to cope in a world without a simulator?


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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