First, I've learned I can't control everything. No matter how hard I work or how much I plan, some events - getting cancer, getting fired, losing a loved one, even "microbursts" - are beyond my control.
In the end, I can't fly the plane.
That means I have to have faith, whether it's faith in a higher power, faith in my friends and family, or faith in myself. If I hold on to what sustains me, I can cope with just about anything, and I will land safely.
Most importantly, I've learned to enjoy the ride. I've flown above the most stunning landscapes, too afraid to look out my window at the scenery below. But being fearful of the unknown and bad things that could happen is no way to live. As a middle-aged adult, I've discovered that life is a journey full of full of highs and lows, smooth sailing and a good amount of "chop."
I've learned not to let my fear of falling, or failing, keep me from experiencing new things, taking chances, and pushing beyond my comfort zone. And I've learned to face the unknown with joy in my heart, a sense of adventure, and only occasionally, a pony bottle of bourbon.
Maryanne Reed is dean of the West Virginia University School of Journalism. This piece was reprinted with permission of the Morgantown Dominion Post.
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