This past February I received an e-mail from a fellow helicopter pilot and friend, asking if I was interested in a position opening up in his company. I was semi-retired at that point, having left a great job with Mercy Air in October of 2013, although I was variously freelancing as an aviation safety and risk consultant and flying with Corporate Helicopters. But I was intrigued, not because we were seeking a change necessarily, but because it offered a chance to return to my nautical roots (without the 6 month deployment with six thousand other people part), and the position was for Europe, a place we both wanted to explore.
So after some discussion of the possibilities and a little bit of “what the hell”, I submitted my CV.
A month or so passed, and I received an e-mail indicating I had made the top ten (out of more than 80 that had applied). A video interview ensued, and job interviews not being my strong suit I thought that was the end of it. But several days later I was invited to London and then the Isle of Man for a face-to-face interview, and during that trip I was offered the position.
I was a little stunned, at the end. And for a period of time the reality of what I had signed up for sort of hit me, like buyer’s remorse—I wondered if Stewart and I were really up for it, and if we had trumped up the positives of a European adventure and hadn’t quire thought through what it would entail. But in the end we came to the same conclusion, that this was the right decision, however unplanned and serendipitous it all came about, and we should buckle down and make it happen.
More than anything this change has been a philosophical one for me, as was my departure from Mercy Air. Like (most) everyone else I struggle with the ultimate purpose of my life, and how one derives meaning from it, to the extent that one can. But while I’m grappling with those questions, in the meantime it seems clear to me that I should, in the relatively brief time remaining of my life, experience as much as I can possibly experience, and to leave the comfort and security of what I know and try something new.
I’m also going to say something potentially very sappy: one of the few times I have spontaneously starting crying in a movie was during the first ten minutes of Up!, when the newly married husband and wife map out their life of adventure and excitement. But their day to day busyness of life get in the way, and before they realize it they are too old to pursue their dreams and then, quietly, the wife passes quietly away.
You truly only live once, and regret is the last thing you want to experience when there’s no time left to do anything about it.