As I adjusted to my new life of wearing an insulin pump and starting a new job, I realized I had some new fears and factors to deal with. Although I had recently completed graduate school and had added extra certifications, I felt that I lacked confidence necessary to deal with my diabetes management and a new job and career. My biggest problem was fear of the unknown unknown. And I believed that the best way to deal with that fear was to face other fears often involved when we seek out new endeavors and our interests.
A case in point was flying. I have always enjoyed flying, while realizing the inherent dangers and risks, as most of us do. I have never been to fond of static heights. As a history teacher, with a focus on World War II, I also had a special interest in Naval and Army Air Corps aviation of that time period. So as I wound down my graduate studies, I decided to take a trip in which I would visit several aviation museums and experience part of the history I had spent my life learning about. I could also face some fears.
While in Central Florida, I decided to do two things: take a playflight in a vintage AT-6-SNJ and take a ride in an open ultra-light aircraft. In the AT-6 I was able to experience loops, barrel rolls, airelon rolls, and wingovers. The ultralight gave me the experience of an open cockpit that many of the early aviators had. Next to being married to the love of my life and holding my son, flying in these planes was the greatest thrill I have known.
Yet, I also had fears. Being inverted 5,000 feet off the ground and flying in a contraption that felt much like the aluminum chairs of summer patios brought a sense of fear that could have been overwhelming. But I faced my fears as calculated risks, which helped me face my fears as a brittle, Type 1 diabetic, turn the fears into calculated risks, and try to manage them appropriately. I feel a good deal of the problems that we face are based on fears that can be overcome if we act rationally and intelligently. My pictures on the left and at the bottom of the page are from my trip.