Ever feel like that? Like you aren't sure where you are, how you got there, where you're supposed to be going, or how you're supposed to get there?
High school and college graduation speeches are always filled with optimism and confidence about conquering the future, aren't they? The world is our oyster. Only problem is, nobody provides us with a darned oyster knife. We each have to figure it out for ourselves.
When we graduate into adulthood, we have to stop taxiing, file our flight plans, and for better or worse, take to the skies. Few of us followed the flight plan we expected for our life, or landed exactly where we expected to be when we proudly walked across the stage to accept our diplomas. That doesn't mean we took the wrong path. Sometimes our internal compasses lead us in a different direction, and what do you know? It turns out to be exactly the one we were meant to take all along.
It's time for a little story.
So, he got his pilot's license and bought Sunshine, a second-hand single-engine 1929 Curtiss Robin, and applied for permission to make the flight.
The FAA denied his flight plan. Said his plane was too old, and unfit. So, he worked on his plane some more, and filed another and another and another NY-to-Ireland flight plan. All denied.
But his plane WAS approved for transcontinental flight, so in 1938, Corrigan flew from California to New York. There, he filed a flight plan to return to California.
Because of heavy fog covering New York that fateful day, Corrigan was directed to fly east . . . just until he rose above the fog . . . and then turn back toward the west.
Only he never did. He kept going east. Claimed his compass wasn't working properly, and he didn't even know where he was when he landed . . . in (ahem) Dublin.
For this, he earned the nickname Wrong Way Corrigan. As it turned out, the FAA had a point about his airplane being a crate. Sunshine developed a gas leak on the California to New York flight, and when he was over the Atlantic, so much gasoline was leaking into the cockpit, Corrigan had to punch a hole in the floor. It took him 28 hours and 13 minutes to complete the flight to Ireland, and by the time he landed, he was a celebrated hero on both sides of the ocean.
Needless to say, the bureaucrats at the FAA were furious, but how could they throw the book at America's hero? Corrigan was slapped with a perfunctory 14-day license suspension, which was already completed by the time he arrived (by ship) back in the U.S.
And know what? New York City gave him a bigger parade than they'd given Lindbergh in 1927.
Until the day he died in 1995, Corrigan maintained that his navigational error was unintentional. I'll let you be the judge of that. But in that one flight, he broke the law, charmed the Irish, became an American hero, and earned an unforgettable nickname: Wrong Way Corrigan.
So, what's the moral of the story?
Others may try to dictate your flight plan through life, but you're the one in the pilot's seat. Only you can decide where you're going and how you're gonna get there. Trust your internal compass.
Remember where you came from, and which end goes up, and you'll never get lost.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.