Yesterday on my flight from Bogota I thought I was going to die. Now I know I have a tendency to be over dramatic (hence why I am an actress) but I promise you I really did think my life was going to end on that flight. So, what happened you ask?…well all was going fine, a smooth flight…I was reading a really good script about two misfits and how they find love and then all of a sudden the plane drops and when I say drop, I mean DROPS, the lady behind me starts screaming and crying to God, I grab my arm rest and repeat over and over to myself, “everything is going to fine, everything is going to be fine…” but all does not feel fine, the plane is shaking violently up, down left, right, the sounds of everything crashing about inside of the plane only add to the chaos, and then we DROP again, this time even more than the first time! The woman is now screeching at the top of her lungs and the plane is shaking much worse than before. My heart is racing a mile a minute and then I have the thought that is not my life, this cannot be happening to me at this moment, not like this, not now. I begin to have this weird outer body experience. I don’t see myself sitting in the plane instead I really truly try to make myself believe that this is not my life, not at this moment. The plane continues to shake violently and all I can say is, “no, no no, no, no” and just as suddenly as the thrashing came it stops. I open my eyes ( I didn’t even realize they were closed) and I look straight ahead. I couldn’t bare to look at anyone, contact with someone would have forced me to acknowledge that this was in fact my life and I was thousands of miles above the ocean and I still had two hours left of my flight. There was an eerie silence on the plane. The captain never came over the PA system to explain what happened, instead he ordered the flight attendant to sit down until further notice and then sent someone from his crew to inspect the cabin. The man walked slowly around the entire plane and didn’t say a word to anyone. Once in a while the plane would experience turbulence but nothing like that initial scare. I have traveled all around the world and don’t have a fear of flying but whenever we encounter turbulence I can easily shake it off. I continue reading my book, watching my movie, or writing…but this shook me my core. When the plane made the slightest movement my heart would leap out of my chest and I couldn’t concentrate on anything. It was complete torture….nothing short of torture The only thing that was able to calm me was my camera. I pulled out my digital camera and looked at pictures of my lover and partner in crime in everything and his image soothed me. His smile calmed me, our memories comforted me…it was that camera and those pictures that allowed me to survive that terrible flight without having a panic attack.
After much reflection I was pleasantly surprised with my response to my near death experience. In that moment when I truly thought it was the end I didn’t wish I had done something different with my life, I didn’t have a regret that I wish I could change, I didn’t happily accept that the end was coming…instead I thought NOOOOOO, not now. I am happy. I love the life I live, I love the person I am with. I love what I do and I still have so much more to do.
So while I would NEVER want to experience that fear again, I am happy it happened. That dreadful moment confirmed for me that I am on the correct path, doing what I am meant to do and trying to contribute to the world and make is a better place and in the end that is the only thing that matters…. When the end does come…I can only hope it won’t be on a plane but instead in my finca in Colombia when I am 104 years old.