Top Gun

I cannot tell you how excited I am for May 27th to get here! In case you aren’t counting down the days like I am and are asking yourself “What is happening on May 27th?” Well my friends, that is the day that TOP GUN 2 is finally being released in the theaters!

It is no secret that I am huge Tom Cruise fan, and always have been. I’m pretty sure Top Gun was the first movie I ever saw him in, and it’s been a love affair ever since. Well, ok, not a love affair, but a grand appreciation for him – especially as Maverick.

You Can Be My Wingman Anytime

My obsession with all things Top Gun was taken to new heights when I actually got to meet Maverick himself! In the photo you can tell that I am completely star struck because my body is frozen in the position and I remember that all I was able to say to him was “Thank you for doing this.”.. Oh my goodness, so embarrassing!

A treasured keepsake!

We all have our celebrity obsessions/crushes/idols from time to time, and for me Tom Cruise was it for so many years. If you had asked me back when I saw Top Gun for the first time if I could ever see myself becoming a pilot, I would have said “no Way!” But isn’t it funny how our dreams can change when we get exposed to something new? In my senior year in high school my dad paid for a short little flight around our local airport with an instructor, and as soon as we took off, I was hooked. I didn’t know much about aviation then, but I knew I wanted to fly more. So with the encouragement of my parents, I did my research, found a flight school, and started my training.

You Gotta See It To Be It

I never even considered flying as something I could do because I had never seen someone like me do it. Sometimes you don’t even realize what you can do because you haven’t seen it done before by someone like you. I wrote a blog a while ago about a technique they teach in flying called “Chair Flying”. You can click here to read about the power of visualization and how it not only works for learning a new skill, but for seeing ourselves in a more positive light too.

By my dad taking the initiative and exposing me to something new (and that he was afraid to do himself, by the way) he opened up my world in a way neither one of us could have imagined.

Letting Go

Learning the skills and procedures it took to be a pilot wasn’t the only thing I got out of my time as an aviator. I also gained self confidence and a sense of capability that I desperately needed. Having grown up with a cleft, I suffered from low self esteem at times due to my experiences. I often felt that my cleft defined me. So being able to put all of that away and leave it on the ground for a little while gave me a much needed confidence boost. It allowed me to feel good about something that I had complete control over. At my flight school I identified as competent pilot, and not simply as that girl with a cleft. It was so freeing.

Me and my good friend Nicci.

Progressing through my training, I received my private pilot certificate, then my commercial/instrument certificate, and finally became a certified instructor. I lived and worked in both Eugene, Oregon and Southern California , building up my hours. It was so much fun doing what I loved to do. I made wonderful friends that I still have to this day.

I have flown all over the pacific northwest and even the Hawaiian islands. All of these experiences made possible by my father purchasing that one 30 minute flight when I was 17.

On my way to Molokai
Over the clouds in Oregon

Bring Back Those Lovin’ Feelings

So when I hear the soundtrack to Top Gun, or see the trailer for Top Gun 2, it’s not just about the films themselves. It’s because they bring back all of those feelings and emotions I had when I was doing my own flying. I can feel the confidence, the pride, and the capability I displayed back then and it helps me remember during challenging times that all of that confidence and capability is still within me.

Can you think of a time in your life you felt really good? A time where you felt confidence and capable? When you find yourself in times of challenge, harness those memories. Put on a song that reminds you of those times. Watch a movie that always makes you feel good. Cook yourself a meal that you love. Do something that gets you into that positive headspace. It will help remind you of where you have been, and where you can go again.