Tagged: flying

New Year’s Day, before dawn

Mostly, we dread growing older. But aging has been good to me, too. I now prefer to skip New Year’s Eve parties, go to bed before the fireworks start, and wake up rested and sober before dawn.

It’s been nearly two years since I decided to change my drinking habits after 25 years of heavy (if, since my mid-20s, generally disciplined) consumption. Since then, I’ve gotten better jobs and have had greater earnings expectations for the future. I was appointed to a municipal oversight board. The futsal club I manage has grown. I’ve shed 20 pounds. I’ve applied for World Cup tickets. I’ve improved my Spanish. I think I’ve become a better husband. I’m mostly over social media. I’ve learned to fly.

I’ve also become a total lightweight of a drinker. I consume two or three drinks a month. I’m tipsy after a second beer, and my body regrets it the next morning.

This isn’t to be smug, though. After putting down the bottle, I’ve also had more time to clearly analyze my failings and failures. Now that I’m unwilling to drink away my anxiety, I have more time to reflect on the nebulous and blundering path of my life. I’m also able to see that there have been successes, as well, and an accumulation of good memories.

This year, I’ll turn 48. If I’m lucky, I’ll have another 30 years, 15 of which should be my so-called “high-earning years.” The 15 years after that, I hope to be well enough and comfortable enough to travel, catch up on my reading, and take up new hobbies.

It’s 6:17 a.m., the sun rises at 7:27 a.m. This afternoon, I’m flying.

I’ve got lots of plans for this year.

Over Siler City in N4640B, December 2017.


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Lift, weight, thrust, and drag

On the dock in Oriental, in 2013

Maybe it’s being in my late 40s, but I’ve been fervently trying to cultivate two new hobbies: sailing and flying. Three years ago, my father and I spent a week in Oriental, N.C., taking a basic keelboat sailing class. We passed the course with flying colors, but neither of us has been able to sail since. Some of it is the expense, some of it is the time, some of it is simply life getting in the way.

But I haven’t forgotten, and it’s remained a barely scratched itch. A few weeks ago, I found the Neuse Sailing Association, a social club based in Oriental, and tonight I discovered this sailing club in Norfolk. The latter outfit actually owns boats that members can use, so I think 2017 could be the year that I actually practice sailing.

But then there’s flying. This fall, I have been attending ground school at Wings of Carolina Flying Club. I’ll have to write more about this–I’m having an incredible time learning about aerodynamics, weather, navigation, and more. I expect to take the written FAA exam in January, and I hope to begin flying lessons shortly thereafter.

One thing I learned in sailing class: The sail operates much like a wing. The boat sails most efficiently, and crisply and satisfyingly, when it’s going upwind and well-trimmed. And when the telltales on the main sail go slack or luff about randomly, your sail is stalling, just like a wing.

Learning to sail, 2013