I haven't posted in a while because I've been super busy seeing my LA friends before I left, still meeting new friends, and occasionally getting ready to move. I still didn't get to see everyone I wanted to see, but the time I could get in was worth the procrastination on packing.
Unexpected to me, I had a very fast paced last two months involving a few girls which led to some highly significant experiences and understanding on attraction dynamics. Many of these experiences converged into some thoughts on Friday night after my last day of work. I started writing to post them that night, then finished the thoughts on the flight out to Denver. It's really long, so I posted it on it's separate page.
"Don't We All?"
Reading it over again, there are several things that are incomplete and which need further development, but I think the thoughts are presented sufficiently for usefulness. I could put more time into it, but I don't want to right now. The girls represented are more intricate than illustrated, but they each serve to demonstrate the associated principles.
Air Force Pilot Training #
My little bro Justin graduated from the Air Force Pilot Training this last weekend, so my family headed out to Columbus Mississippi for the occasion. I always look forward to seeing my brothers again... So much of our lives pass by so quickly, I was again taken back by it. We've spent so much of our lives so close together that it hasn't seemed like much time has passed between us. Now we're spread all over the country, and it's shocking how much happens while we're away from each other. I don't like it. I like having my brothers close enough that we can follow each others lives without missing large gaps that need to be made up. It's more fun living through life with each other than catching up on life in conversation after it has already been lived. I don't know if I can change that.
Hanging out on the flight line watching the planes take off, where Justin has been learning his routines for the last year, and where other Air Force pilots have been training since further back than when my Dad went through Pilot Training.
Justin will be stationed in Dover, Delaware, flying the C-5 for the next three years. He should be hopping across the Atlantic most of the time.That's a C-17 behind my Dad and Trevor there... exactly half the size of the C-5. The C-5 was the last airplane my Dad flew with the Air Force before transitioning to the airlines.
All the other graduates had these nice shiny wings awarded to them. My Dad broke out an old pair of his wings from his time in the Air Force, and pinned them on Justin. My Dad never made an effort to persuade any of us to follow his path. He opened up the opportunity for us to learn to fly, and learn everything we wanted about airplanes, but he always supported us in choosing whatever path we wanted. His path to flying is very remarkable, and very much founded in his own desire to fly. Nobody expected him to fly. He had to work and earn his way there, and he has always supported us in working to earn our way to what we choose to do.
The sound of the T-37's taking off early in the morning reminded my Mom of when she had just married my Dad and they were starting a family and going through Pilot Training almost thirty years ago. It's a lot of fun hanging out with my parents and hearing so much of their lives together... and hearing it from different perspectives. There is so much more dimension to each of them when they're together... and because they've been together through so much.
Lots of life to live. It was fun getting a glimpse into the nuts and bolts of what Justin has been doing this last year. For him it became mundane, but it's a life very few people ever get to live. I realized this weekend, again, that for anybody who wants to do anything really unique and really cool with their life, they have to dedicate their lives to learning and pursuing that dream. They stay rounded throughout the pursuit, but they have to focus and bend all their efforts and work in the direction they choose. When they do that, they can earn that life. At the same time, you don't always get the dream you initially had in mind. Justin originally wanted to fly fighters. In his class of 34, they only had three fighter slots available, and he didn't stack high enough to grab one of those slots. It doesn't matter that he came really close. If you don't get it, you don't get it. So much for that dream. In the long run it could be better that he got tracked to heavies, but that isn't the dream he started out with.
It takes courage to reach for a dream and bank your life on it. People tell me it's impressive that I've been accepted to MIT, but I never started out with MIT as a goal that I committed my life to achieving. I applied and my acceptance became my best alternative. Justin committed his life to reaching for Fighters, knowing the risk that he might not get it. That's courage. I admire the kid. He committed to the Air Force for ten years, knowing he might not get to fly fighters. Everyone in his class committed, knowing they might not get fighters. They all threw down their best and accepted the results. They're following through on their commitments. It doesn't take much courage to increment from one available opportunity to another available opportunity, ending up wherever you opportunistic course leads you. To choose a defined objective, and to bend your life and energy toward that objective, closing off other alternatives along the way, knowing that only a very select few will attain that dream... that takes courage. Even for the guys who didn't have the tactical ability to surpass their peers, you can't overlook the value in their courage and dedication demonstrated in reaching for that dream.
The Right to Earn our Lives #
One additional note from this weekend regarding the value of America as a country.
During my time in Los Angeles I have become aware of the rocky horizon for the next 10 years we're looking at for American Aerospace companies, and for American technological leadership in general. I have wanted to apply my efforts to effectively influence this industry's future in a constructive way... Not for nationalistic reasons, but because the world can be a win-win-win game, and if we lose, then it only diminishes us and everybody else. Evaluating all the forces (social, economic, psychological, political, etc) that are active in leading to the conditions we have now, I almost became resigned to allow America to take whatever course these forces lead it toward, and just live my life according to the greatest opportunity for my objectives for the life I want to experience.
Spending this weekend in these military surroundings, I was reminded that this country we have was not built by passively opportunistic businessmen and innovators. It was the desires of businessmen that caused the American Revolution. It was the desires of businessmen that caused an American Navy to be built. A lot of political stuff has integrated itself into the system through time, but it's foundation rises from people wanting to run their own business and earn the lives they want to live. The right to earn the lives we want... the right to life, liberty, and property, are the rights that this country was built to protect.
Strength is required to hold these rights: military strength, economic strength, intellectual strength, moral strength, and social strength (among others). It is the strength of America to secure these rights that has made it the location of greatest opportunity for people who want to earn the greatest life their ability can afford. (*Whether you're pro or anti American, America is indisputably the country with the greatest opportunity to earn what you want.) (**Freedom of Speech isn't a foundational right, it's a peripheral right appended to the foundational rights which apply to earning our own lives.) Other countries have the strengths that secure these rights, and secure the conditions to sustain these rights, but that strength and those conditions must be earned by the people of those countries. That strength, and those conditions of opportunity, are something that is worth working for, and even worth fighting for.
Having these conditions so readily abundant, it is easy to forget that WW II was nearly lost. Had we lost WW II, the opportunity we presently enjoy to earn our lives would have been squelched. All across the world, without the lives sacrificed to secure the opportunity and rights of the whole Western Civilization against the Socialist / Communist movement, the whole free world would have been devoured until the socialist system finally (and inevitably) collapsed on itself. This American country, this American economy, the American culture, did not sprout up without a fight. It sprouted up with the spontaneity of its people, but it required work, vision, and even blood to create it, and to maintain it.
It costs less to maintain these rights and conditions (secured by the strength of the American country) than it would cost to recreate it. It is a work that is applied from numerous people in numerous fields. No single person has the strength to earn and secure the rights we enjoy in America. No single person has the strength to maintain and enhance the rights we enjoy in America. The work required to earn a society with as much opportunity as we presently enjoy is a work that can only be accomplished by a whole society. It is work that must be accomplished by a critical mass of individuals within that society. Many people will free load off the work of those who earn the rights for the society, but the free-loaders are of little concern. The real question is if the opportunity is worth the work to those who recognize and want that opportunity. I value the presence of that opportunity, and I believe it is worth far more than the work required to maintain and develop it. I cannot individually ensure that America can have and cultivate the strength necessary to secure our rights and conditions to earn the lives we want, but I believe I can contribute to the critical mass of people who share the same desire I share.
The work to perpetuate the rights and opportunities provided by the American country is a work that I believe in, and and work to which I will gladly apply what strength and energy I can. I believe we can succeed because I believe there are many other people who share my desire, and who have the ability and strength to likewise work to earn the rights and conditions this country is here to secure.