Last week, Jordan Gray thought he was going to die in a plane crash. This is what went through his mind.
Last week I flew in the worst turbulence of my life.
Now, despite the fact that I am an anxious flyer to begin with, this flight was particularly bad.
(Spoiler alert: I’m alive.)
The plane shook, dipped, and leaned in every possible direction. We hit air pockets that made us drop for a solid second or two (repeatedly). And at times we even shook so violently that several of the food and drink carts tipped over.
During a few exceptionally bad air pockets, I grabbed the knee of the person next to me (whom I didn’t know) not once, but twice… and the look of terror on their face only made me feel worse. They didn’t even have the presence of mind to be able to share a smile at the fact that I had just groped their leg by mistake. Apparently, all awareness of humour and social tension were out the window… there was only room for “I’m about to die” thoughts.
It was during the “Oh-my-god-I-am-absolutely-going-to-die-tonight” portion of the flight that a few consistent thoughts popped up in my mind.
I thought of the people that I loved the most.
I thought of the contributions that I had yet to fully give to the world.
And I thought of the people that I wish I had apologized to.
When you perceive your untimely demise creeping up around the corner, it’s nearly impossible not to have these thoughts.
So, I’m curious as to what you would say to the following three questions?
(And I’m truly curious, so leave your comments below).
If you were caught in truly horrendous turbulence and were pretty sure you were going down…
1. Who would you want to say ‘I love you’ to?
Does everyone in your life that you love know that you love them?
If no, maybe you should tell them. If yes, maybe you should remind them.
Do they know exactly why you love them? Maybe they deserve to hear the details.
It’s one thing to assume that “they know how I feel”, and a whole other thing to send them a multi-paragraph letter/email/message about exactly what they bring to your life.
2. How would you have lived your life differently so that you could contribute the best of yourself to the world?
Are you chasing your ultimate dream? Do you feel proud on a daily basis of how you’re adding to the world?
Is there a piece of work inside of you calling out to be made that you’re ignoring? How could you play a bigger role in the way that you add value to the world?
3. Who do you wish that you had apologized to?
Is there an ex that you never made up with? An estranged family member? A former colleague/employee/friend?
Life is too short to let long-term arguments go unsettled. Holding grudges with people only saps your mental and emotional energy over time.
Do you need a (perceived or real) near-death experience to snap you into reality and make you acknowledge that maybe holding on to a past hurt isn’t really serving you?
It’s not always easy to be the bigger person when it comes to squashing old conflict, but it might just be one of the best things you ever did for yourself.
Sugar, We’re Going Down
As soon as the turbulence subsided (for the most part) I whipped out my computer and started writing down twelve different love letters to the people in my life.
While my fear-mind was still racing at full speed, I rationalized that even if I died, someone would likely still be able to find my computer and hopefully salvage the data from it and pass my words on to their respective recipients.
I told my best friend that I adored him. I told one of my favourite GMP writers that her work had touched me. I apologized to an ex-girlfriend from years past. Bit by bit I cleared space in my mind by writing down all of the truths I could muster.
And the final thing that I did while on the plane was write notes for this piece.
So I beg you to consider the above three questions.
And tell me…
Who would you want to say ‘I love you’ to?
How can you live your life differently so that you can contribute the best of yourself to the world?
And who do you need to apologize to, in order to feel complete (while in doing so, not causing the other person unnecessary harm)?
Let me know what thoughts come to your mind for any or all of those three questions.
And thank you in advance for your sharing.
Ps. Just to make sure that I wasn’t being dramatic in my own mind, I asked two of the flight attendants if the turbulence we had experienced was relatively standard. And without any prompting on my behalf, they both stated that it was “by far the worst turbulence” they had each experienced. The more junior flight attendant had flown a minimum of six flights per week for over eight years… so they were pulling from a healthy volume of reference.
You can see more of Jordan’s writing at JordanGrayConsulting.com