ROP – Retired Old Pilot – Hangs with Private Jet PIlots!
For a long time I compared myself to other guys, especially pilots, who were better than me at just about everything my own mind could come up with! Mostly guys who were better than me at math and science. But then I thought about how many of those same guys had trouble putting a sentence together so someone could make sense out of it.
That’s not to put any one of my friends down; it just means that it took me many years to appreciate how different we all are and how important it is to not compare myself to anyone else. Because when I do I always come up short in my own mind and that short changes what I’m really good at.
If you’re reading this maybe you know that my last flying gig was with Netjets, a high-end corporate jet charter company. (Think time-share in corporate jet travel) You might also know that before Netjets I flew for TWA as a domestic and international captain for 26 years.
I’ve traveled all my life but over the last few years I began to realize how much I really love travel and how much I’ve written about it. In fact I’ve accumulated 25 years’ worth of journal notes stacked in my office that I often refer to for travel articles.
This kind of world-wide exposure gave me insight into people and cultures that was priceless. The international portion was more or less priceless, but living in Saudi Arabia in the late 70’s, not so much!
International travel also sparked my interest in travel writing as a way to give meaning and purpose to my travels by having a plan to write a story about my adventures when I go to a new country or location.
I’ve been a writer, a spreader of news, a starter of things and a connector all my life. As a kid my mom told me I used to stand at the front window in our family home in the Sunnyside district in San Francisco and try to hawk newspapers to the people walking by on the sidewalk outside by screaming, “Examiner, Chronicle, get ya paper here!”
For sure I’m a connector since it seems as if everywhere I go I start some kind of a group, usually a men’s group.
I get bored easily, doing the same thing so I figured 26 years was enough at TWA and I left as soon as I upgraded to captain, which took a long drawn out, unexpected 23 years to accomplish.
I bailed from TWA after flying captain for only three years but I had accomplished my goal and proved to myself I could do it, just as good as any of my Naval Academy buddies who I idolized for so many years.
That was mainly because I always wanted to be a Naval Aviator but I had an astigmatism and couldn’t pass the physical so these guys became my heroes because they were doing what I always wanted to do but couldn’t.
If I had it to do again I probably would have stuck around at TWA since I left a wad of cash on the table. But I left for a good reason, to start a men’s community in St. Louis where I was based with TWA at the time. That community flourishes today, 25 years later.
After a divorce that woke me up to how I was living my life on the back side of the power curve I went back to graduate school and got a masters degree in Counseling Psychology. Then I set up a private practice in St. Louis.
I think I got my Counseling degree and went into private practice since I’m kind of a voyeur, in a good way; I love looking into people’s lives and seeing how I can help them while I learn what makes them tick.
Writing as a Way of Life
I have written a little bit about everything, but mostly about people. I wrote my book, Fast Lane to Faith: A Jet Jockey’s Search for Significance over a period of about 10 years and in a number of different places, like in the cockpit of a jet airplane, at 35000 feet, at night while looking out the window, straining my eyes, looking for UFO’s and scanning the skies for whatever I thought might be out there.
Private Jet Pilots and “Payin’ It Forward!”
It’s taken me a whole lot more time than was necessary to realize that my ideal life was to combine my love of aviation and the people in it with writing. I’ve chased too many get rich quick schemes, spent too much money on “programs” that was supposed to make me a consultant to the rich and famous, invested money without doing the necessary research, trusted other people to manage my money when I should have been educating myself to do it; the list could go on but you get the point, I’ve been chasing things that I thought would make me money, make me happy when all along I was avoiding what I was really good at and loved doing, writing stories, interviewing people and bringing us together in some small way through the stories I write.
I love seeing into other peoples lives, I love discovering who they are and sharing that with my readers and I finally figured out that I do that so I can feel connected in a way that has eluded me all these years. I do this so we can get to know each other in some small way that has become more difficult in the fragmented world we live in.
More to come……