What happens when the plane shakes?

I was riding 15,000 feet above the ground in a jet that was hurling for Chicago O’Hare. It was a late afternoon flight and the cabin was silent, save for a crying toddler near the back of the airbus frightened by the invisible force adding pressure to her ears. 

The crying grew faint as I threw on my Bose headphones and hit play on a podcast episode I had downloaded before the flight. As the voices on the prerecorded tape chatted back and forth about business and writing and money, thoughts ran through my head –– mostly thoughts of the future. 

I thought about my copywriting business. I thought about how much it had grown since first starting it two years ago. I thought about how this growth wasn’t enough. I thought about a particularly difficult client I had just parted ways with. I thought about another client I loved that I hoped I never would part ways with. I thought about money and how I wanted to make more of it. I thought about the craft of writing and how I wanted to become great. I thought about…

Then the plane shook. 

And, as it shook, my thoughts scattered away from my mind’s conscious like roaches at the switch of a light. I began to sweat, lightly then all at once. I felt hot. I felt cold. I felt scared

The turbulence carried on for about five minutes, up and down the plane jolted –– and as it crashed back and forth in the wind I took note of my thoughts. 

They weren't the same thoughts I had been thinking before. They weren’t about business growth, difficult clients, wonderful clients, making more money and writing better than I ever had before. 

They were about staying alive. 

It’s funny and not funny all at the same time –– how we have all these big boisterous life plans to conquer the world. 

That is until the plane begins to shake. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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