I used to always wish I could fly. I was actively jealous of birds growing up because I wanted to be able to just soar through the sky at will like they did.
When I was 18, I went skydiving because I thought it was the closest I’d ever come to flying.
I realized during that experience that when you don’t have wings and you aren’t a bird, you’re really just falling. Even with the parachute, you’re still falling.
I’ve done a lot of falling in my life. A LOT of falling my friends. Damn gravity.
But look. Here’s what I’m realizing about this life thing.
Sometimes flying looks a lot like falling.
Sometimes flying feels a lot like falling.
But you know what? It’s all gorgeous. Soaring through the air, whether with wings or without, is an amazing thing. Whether you’re flying or falling right now, it’s beautiful.
Do you want to know why?
Because if you’re in the air, you’re trying.
You may not get it right. You may fall flat on your face. You may not ever sprout wings and learn to actually soar through the air like a bird. In fact, I’m almost certain that exact thing will never happen.
But you know what we can do in this life as humans?
We can learn.
We can try.
We can find our way through our mistakes and our falls.
And we can rely on each other to help us when we’re plummeting to the ground instead of soaring through the air.
The other thing I learned during that skydiving experience is that there will always be nay-sayers. There will always be people reminding you that you’re a human and you don’t have wings and you’re never going to be able to fly and that actually, they’ve never heard anything as stupid as wishing you could.
If you do get close to flying, they’ll laugh about how you did it. It won’t have been graceful enough. It won’t be the same way they would have done it. You won’t have gone high enough or fast enough. It’ll never be good enough for some people.
No matter how far you’ve climbed, no matter how much you’ve accomplished, no matter how good you do, there will always be people telling you it isn’t enough. There will always be someone who says you got it wrong.
The good news is you’re not living for those people.
Those people aren’t the ones who get the final say. Those people aren’t the ones walking in your shoes or “flying with your wings.” They aren’t the ones paying your bills. They aren’t the ones helping you climb when you’re tired.
Your path may not look how you wanted it to. You may not be where you thought you’d be at this point of your life. You may have lots of people who like to remind you of those truths. And you may be your own worst enemy. Your wings may have been clipped and it may feel like rather than flying, you’re always falling.
But I’m learning that sometimes flying looks and feels a lot like falling.
To me, never trying is much worse than never flying. I’d rather try and fall than allow the fact that I don’t have wings to keep me on the ground.
Maybe skydiving isn’t as close as I’ll ever get to flying. Maybe it’s through the fall of life that we truly do learn to fly.
“So keep on climbing though the ground might shake. Just keep on reaching though the limb might break. We’ve come this far, don’t you be scared now; Cause you can learn to fly on the way down.”