Getting a new perspective

By Nick1962 Latest Reply 2012-06-13 19:57:56 -0500
Started 2012-06-10 19:02:22 -0500

I know you’ve felt this way some days, heck maybe all the time. You go through your day as if you’re in a maze, trying to find the end, never knowing if the next corner will be it or not. Or worse still, a maze full of doors where some don’t open and you have to dig through a ring of keys to find the right one. The ones that do open easily, slam right behind you, and you have to go through some ordeal or put out some fire before you’re allowed to continue to the next door. You can see the sky, so you know there’s an outside, but you’re still confined by the walls of everyday life.

I’ve always been fascinated by hot air balloons, and have gone to many balloon rallies over the years. In fact, I just uploaded a bunch of pictures on my profile page. I’ve been lucky enough to go up a few times now and even work as ground/chase crew. A dream of mine would be to get a pilot’s license and my own craft. Sadly, as I age that may be one dream I have to forfeit. Diabetes is one of the things that can prevent you from getting a pilot’s license. But that’s not what this is about.

My first time up, I don’t mind telling you, I was to say the least “apprehensive”. Even though I’d already seen probably a thousand balloons of all shapes and sizes (some as big as a house or medium sized yacht) take off and land safely, I still couldn’t get over those first time jitters. Think about it. You’re in little more than wicker basket, suspended by a few cables attached to a flimsy nylon bag with no seatbelts or doors. Worse, you’re depending on nothing more than FIRE (and the pilot’s judgment) to keep you in the air! Oh and let’s not forget, YOU CAN’T STEER! Sound like life some days? Well, there’s thousands of “balloons” here on DC too that have gone up and landed safely too!

As you release the tether line that’s holding you to the ground though, your perspective on everything changes. First thing you notice is the silence. There’s no noisy, straining engine giving you clues you’re moving. Then, the lack of terrain catches you – there are no bumps or jars to signal you’re making any progress. Your ascent into the sky is so gradual, there’s no g-force to tell your brain you’re going up, you literally feel like you’re standing still. Finally, there’s no wind – what little breeze there may be, you’re traveling at the same speed of, so the air around you is dead still. The only clues you get are the occasional loud blast of flame from the burner to heat the envelope, and the sensation of heat on the top of your head. You know you should be scared, but the feeling never comes, and you just enjoy your perspective of the world slowly changing as you gain altitude.

From a few hundred feet in the air, in dead silent travel, you get to see things few people will. First thing I noticed was that the sounds of the world on the ground must travel horizontally, because even though I could see cars and trucks below us, I didn’t hear them. It was nice not to have that distraction even though I’ve become accustomed to it. At one point on an early Saturday morning flight (6 a.m.), we came in low and silently crested a stand of trees and surprised a homeowner in her nightgown taking her dog out for his morning ritual in her back yard. The pilot calmly said “good morning” in a normal voice, and she returned the greeting watching us as we quietly passed.

We took a low glide across a local lake, and because we were looking straight down into the water, we were able to see several large schools of fish. Information those early boaters would have liked to know as they were juggling for position at the dock trying to get their fishing boats in. Of course at their angle of view, they’ll never see what we did. In addition, we passed over the northern dock area previously and saw it was just about empty, so if they’d just drive the extra 5 minutes up the road, they’d have no waiting to put their boat in. Sometimes looking down at the big picture, you get to see things that would be helpful to some folks.

We flew high over a major freeway, and could see a car on the side of the road, steaming. Luckily, from our view we could also see the lights of a tow truck coming up about 2 miles down the road. Good. That was being taken care of. Wished we could have let the owner know that, he’d be relieved.
Saw a lot of houses that could use some roof repair too. Who goes up on their roof to look? The owners of the house might like that info to maybe prevent a leak. Heck, my roofer buddy would like to know too where he could make a buck.

During our flight, our chase crew (the guys who’re supposed to pick us up and take us back to the starting point) managed to keep a good eye on us without disturbing our serenity with radio contact. Good thing too because there are no street signs up there. We finally spotted them, and as we searched for a good landing spot in a field where they could pull the truck in and pack things up, we kind of had to visually guide them to where we were headed – continue south on the road they were on until they find the white farmhouse and we’ll try to land in the soy field to the south. They figured they’d have access from a nearby road and turned in, which we quickly told them to back out of (they couldn’t see it was a dead end). We radioed back and told them to continue south to a stand of pines and turn right on the next road. We knew the trees blocked their view of the soy field, but when they turned and cleared them, they could see we were just about to come in so they parked on the side and we floated just above them to land on a grassy spot just across the road. They ran out to hang on to the basket to keep us from “bouncing” or tipping over, and we managed a soft landing with everyone still upright. We’ve tipped over on a previous flight (kind of like a “pig pile” while being dragged along the ground in an Easter basket), so this was a relief.

So if you’ve read this so far (and if you have, thank you), you’re probably sayin’ “what’s any of this got to do with diabetes Nick?”

Well, it dawned on me that some days when I need to get a handle on things, I kind of use the balloon memory to take my mind up above all that I need to “oversee” for that day, and look at things from above. Not necessarily in a full blown hot air balloon, sometime I just tie my mind to a little helium balloon and let it float up. When I look down on my whole day (or week, or month) I can see past all those maze walls and it’s a lot easier for me to get from task to task. Rather than worrying about all I need to get done, and weather the next thing I do is correct, I can look at things and say “well, I need to get here, so I better adjust my altitude to go in that general direction” or “I know I’m going to need help with that, I better give someone good directions so they know what to help me with”.

From my “mental altitude” I can see the days that I’ll have to watch my diet, as well as manage the stresses I see coming up. As I “float” over my week, I can see things that I need to do and when instead of trying to micro-manage each little turn and blind corner. Like knowing what days will be a little tougher so I’ll have to watch the food closer, or prepping for a high stress day which always means higher BG for me. Setting myself above it all for a while, I get the view ahead, can avoid the trees or dangerous power lines, and can plan my actions for a smooth landing. Basically, take control. Now I know there’ll be times when maybe the wind will take me someplace I might not want to go, but I’ll just land and wait until the winds become favorable again.

45 replies

wrmjw1 2012-06-13 17:08:39 -0500 Report

its difficult for me to check as much as Id like to. I dont have any means of income yet so Ill go through days that I dont check my sugar at all, or take my insulin.

Nick1962 2012-06-13 18:22:34 -0500 Report

That's when it helps to try to take a look at the big picture. Maybe ask around here if there are programs people know of to get supplies either cheap or free, see if there are pharmacies nearby that do it too. Take a look at your week and save your strips for those times you know you'll need to test and take the right amount of insulin.
I'm sure others have even more suggestions. Maybe you could start a discussion post.

wrmjw1 2012-06-13 19:43:56 -0500 Report

I only test twice a day, Ive got medicaid but since I dont have any income right now Ive been trying to get that interim cash until my disability case goes through but the waiting is the hardest part. If I can get disablity then Id be able to pay for all of my diabetic supplies with no problem, its the waiting I cant stand.

Nick1962 2012-06-13 19:57:56 -0500 Report

Whoo, I'm relieved. I thought you weren't testing at all. Twice a day is still pretty good considering some were only told to test once a day. If you don't already, scattering the testing times will give you a better idea about how you're doing at different periods in the day. Again, if you haven't already, setting up a good routine diet for the week (and following it) goes a long way too in keeping things level. One way or another, it'll get worked out. You're among good company here, and we can figure out just about anything.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-12 12:29:06 -0500 Report

Nick I was just thinking. I believe that there are people can't function without some kind of drama going on in their lives. It gives them something to do and something to complain about. These people are usually always angry about something and are prone to take it out on others. In other words once one drama is over they need another drama to take its place. If someone around them does not create a drama they are going to find a way to start another.

To that end they have high stress levels and if you have a medical condition the stress makes it worse. However, they are more prone to contacting a medical problem brought on by the stress. In my experience with people, the stress prone drama addict can be draining to those around them. They suck up every bit of energy around them including yours.

I stopped being a friend with someone I worked with. No matter when I talked to her, she was angry about something or somebody because of what they were or were not doing or what they should have done. She always seemed to find some kind a drama and insert herself into it. She really wasn't a pleasant person. Her anger drove away her husband, made her kids miserable to the point they rarely see her but will talk to her on the phone, she lost most of her friends except the ones who loved drama like her. With these kinds of people they have no perspectives or organization about them and closure never occurs. They never let anything go and they don't get over any incident.

When you hold on to everything that happens to you from day to day, you carry a 10 ton weight on your shoulders. I really don't think these kinds of people have a happy life. Until they learn how to come to grips with what is going on in their lives, how they contribute to it, how to put things into perspective and to let go of all the anger and drama they will be miserable to the bitter end.

Nick1962 2012-06-12 13:31:16 -0500 Report

And up to a point that would've described me. I was a fat unhappy person. I still have some of those toxic folks in my group of friends, but they are sadly distancing themselves. One of them will be mised terriibly, as we've had many good times. It wasn't until I could get my mind "up above everything" did I realize or "see" the complete landscape of my own life.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-12 17:59:09 -0500 Report

That is very good Nick. I think society for some reason expects fat people to be unhappy. You don't see them in commercials depicting people having fun. When it comes to friends, a true friend laughs with you, cries with you, has fun with you. More importantly a true friend does not repeatedly ask you for help and has an excuse for not helping you when you go to them for help.

Sometimes we do have to step back or as you say travel above our bodies to see the total picture. You may not like what you see but you can certainly make changes.

Caroltoo 2012-06-12 13:43:07 -0500 Report

Toxic people can be just exhausting. We caring friends want to help them get better and put so much energy into it because we love/care about them, but sadly they don't know there is a problem so there is no change.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-12 17:51:30 -0500 Report

Carol, you nailed the problem. Trying to help them. Toxic people are usually selfish and self centered. Many toxic people are codependent. They are not going to lift one finger to help themselves as long as they have someone waiting in the shadows to help them. Some of these people you never hear from unless they have a problem. I learned years ago to avoid these kinds of people. I don't consider them friends and I certainly do not waste my time caring about them.

People have got to learn that you cannot change anyone but yourself. You can't force people to take care of themselves, to care about others or force them to be a friend.

I have a lot of people in my community who ask for some kind of resource. A month can go by before they ask for something else. I will ask them if they got help for the first problem. A lot of the responses are I was hoping you would call for me. I tell them the following:
A. If I call, I am not in a position to answer questions about you and your household
B. I gave you the information and told you what to say when you make contact
C. I cannot continue to help you if you don't take the first step to help yourself

Usually they will take the first step of seeking help. I am not going to let people suck up my energy and I will not continuously help people who make no effort to help themselves. I cannot force them to seek help.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-12 15:43:11 -0500 Report

Sadly it's very true. Had a longstanding friend that I had to walk away from she had grown so toxic. She was a danger to me as well as herself. Despite years of proof that she wouldn't change, my stubburn streak tried to will it to happen. Wasn't until the 2nd time she put my life in danger I got the message.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-11 15:34:27 -0500 Report

Great message. Used to live two doors away from a Balloonist. He used to go over our house to land in the wheat stubbe behind our houses. Loved watching with my feet frimly on solid ground,Never went up with him though. I have height phobia. A 6 foot step ladder is usual my limit without a structure of steel around me. Once every decade The cake Lady's other daughters manage to pursuade her and I to take a ski lift up some Colorado ski slope in the summer. They always regret being trapped in the chair with me repeating "I hate this, Oh wonderful view, I know millions of people do this,we're going to die" in an endless loop.
My neighbor did remark how great our shingles looked.

Nick1962 2012-06-11 15:42:48 -0500 Report

Hah, I can picture that! (only because i have fallen out of a lift chair) Oh you people and your irrational fear of heights. You really don't get that sensation in a balloon.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-11 16:06:21 -0500 Report

Great , something new to add to my chant. "OMG I am going to fall out of this", while I have a two handed, white knuckled grip, one hand on the bar and one hand oround the neck of the nearest sister who thought this is fun. "At least I'm taking one of you with me."
There is just no reasoning with irrational thoughts. They do not acknowledge reality.
At work this is played out constantly. I can calm a paniced resident who has an invisible non responsive person in his room "I have called the paramedics and they can handle the situation as I am not able to help her. I do not tell him I called the invisible paramedics on my invisible phone. I have put out invisible flames that have engulfed his room. However I do not know if I could help him if he was trapped in an invisible ski lift!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-11 18:37:15 -0500 Report

LOL I have transported invisible friends to the hospital. They are a pain in the butt cause you never know where they are and you always step on them.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-11 18:52:40 -0500 Report

They are challenging. Never no where they are at or what they are up to at any given moment.
Have had to remove them from beds and have them sleep in recliners at night so the residents can sleep. Moved them from chairs so residents can sit down and eat.
Once I asked my previous boss to hire an invisible caregiver because once we had 8 residnets and over 30 invisies in the building and me in charge. It was a full moon event.

Nick1962 2012-06-11 16:16:28 -0500 Report

Funny. The ski lift thing was my fault. It was a bunny hill and only about 4 feet off the ground. It was my much younger days and I think i may have had too many brandy hot chocolates.
I had an invisible friend once, but he only liked to play with the kid across the street.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-11 16:25:10 -0500 Report

Invisible friends are not very trustworthy.
When my husband was in Truck Driving school a fellow student had an invisible girlfrind. The trainer was out in the semi while this guy was driving. Suddenly he says "Well B*****, if you think you can do better you take the wheel." Then he got out of the driver's seat and went back to the sleeper. Instructor grapped the wheel very fast, student flunked out.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-11 16:42:01 -0500 Report

Just remembered the guy had started fighting with Wanda (his invisible GF) because she had cheated on him. then it escalated into her commenting on his bad driving besides his bad…well I better censor his bad what before I get banned from DC.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-11 13:00:51 -0500 Report

Great perspective Nick. I constantly have several doors open on any given day of the week or month. I keep everything soft meaning if something changes, I can adjust immediately.

The only thing I schedule are meetings some of which occur the same time and day of each month. If an unscheduled meeting or event pops up, I can arrange most of what I am doing so that I can still attend if I choose to do so.

I have to be reachable almost 24/7 during the summer months unless I am on a brain break or a staycation. During those times, I will only respond to something that requires my immediate attention.

My cell is never off. I never know when a text or email will come through that I have to respond to ASAP. People in communities always need something and if I get a call, text or email from the police department I have to respond.

In all that I do in my community, very little of it stresses me out. I have built my own list of contacts and resources to make this easier.

I would love to go on a balloon ride but have not built up the nerve.

Nick1962 2012-06-11 15:28:34 -0500 Report

I'm like you, i always schedule "soft" because i hate the stress, but you really have to learn to look at your day/week/month as a whole unit rather than just individual events strung together.
I was lucky, my first flight was a "gift" from a pilot for spending 4 days volunteer work helping out at a rally.
This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things that I'd really recommend someone save up a few bucks to try. It's not terribly practical, but not everyone does it either. Like I said, you know you should be almost wetting your pants, but the fear never comes.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-11 18:35:25 -0500 Report

On my first cruise, I could not go out on deck, let alone walk to the railing. I was terrified. The next cruise I made it to the railing. Now I can go on deck, stand at the railing and even walk up to the very top of the ship. I was terrified of falling overboard. What makes it even worse is that I grew up fishing in the Chesapeake Bay on my uncles cabin cruiser so I don't know were the fear came from. I think the height of the ship played a role in it. If I have to climb up a ladder to get into the basket of the balloon, I won't do it if it is more than 3 rungs on the ladder after that fear sets in.

I do have solid dates on my calendar that I can't change. My sister and I have a small business and we are at a Flea Market every Sat. and Sun. We also have fairs we vend at during the summer.

Nick1962 2012-06-12 11:45:22 -0500 Report

I grew up on Lake Michigan, so water’s never really been a great fear. I’m not a strong swimmer though, so I’m a bit uncomfortable in water where I can’t be within reach of ground or something to hold onto.
In Lake Michigan, if you fall out of a boat though, the water’s so cold it momentarily takes your breath away, and it kind of messes with your reaction. Even though you make it to the surface, you still can’t suck in air. I get the cruise ship thing though. It’s one thing to be within sight of land, but that first night after a few cocktails I wandered out on deck on a moonless night and realized there is no land ANYWHERE! So yeah, fall overboard=dead. I did get to do an open water snorkel last year in about 30 feet of water Heart was pounding and breathing pretty heavy, but I made it through and plan to keep doing it every possible chance.

And no- no ladders involved, maybe a step stool.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-12 12:13:19 -0500 Report

I love being on the water. Have been on cruise ships in a storm and sat on my balcony and watched a storm about a 100 miles away. Was absolutely beautiful.

I can't swim at all and don't mind being in the water. My sister went snorkeling when we were in the Grand Caymans and loved it. I am not that brave.

I can do a step stool with no problems :>)

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-12 15:48:04 -0500 Report

Hey, I would have no problem with a step stool if it was underwater. I spent most of my childhood summers in the swimming pool.
It's just when the scarey thing is out in the open air I have issues.

Nick1962 2012-06-12 15:32:16 -0500 Report

Yes, we've taken a stormy beating on a cruise as well. In addition, the ship's stabilizer wasn't working so it was a wild ride. Slept like a baby though.
I'm working on my water fears, part of it was pride. If a 70 year old woman with replaced hips could do it, I sure could.
There's balloon rallies all over the US. Many of the pilots offer discounted rides during these because it may be a short trip. Might be worth you're checking out!

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2012-06-12 15:53:08 -0500 Report

Never been on a cruise ship -Hubby is beyond water phobic. His entire family shares that gene.
But my Dad built two sail boats. Enjoyed going out on them, until the time the waves nearly sunk us once. Since that day I like boats to be a little bigger than a bathtub.

Nick1962 2012-06-12 16:15:40 -0500 Report

Always a water lover myself (born under a water sign). I think my fears stem from: A) I have short arms and legs so swimming for me is more like watching a child throw a tantrum - a lot of movement, just no forward progress, and B) I'm not exactly skinny or aerodynamic and tend to sink very well.

Caroltoo 2012-06-11 10:09:06 -0500 Report

Terrific perspective. Have you ever read Watzlawick's Second Generation Change? It's about stepping out of the minutiae of everyday details and looking to the link between all the little stuff that repeats itself annoyingly in our lives. When you find and change it, it changes all the little stuff that was happening as a response.

Nick1962 2012-06-11 11:20:18 -0500 Report

Never read it, but I'm putting it on my list. That is pretty right on target. So many things we do, we do without even noticing ourselves. I know my late night monster snack habit was something I had to step back and look at. That alone played a big part in my overall weight loss and health.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-06-10 23:04:44 -0500 Report

Whew, that was awsome. It's good to have a way to relax as well as a tool to get you through each day. Don't give up on the dream of having your own balloon, maybe just need a good partner to pilot/share it with you. Nothing is ever out of reach if you want it bad enough, just might have to tweek the plan, that's all:)

Thanks for the ride, close my eyes and I can see it!

Nick1962 2012-06-11 15:21:20 -0500 Report

Thanks, I'm still holding onto the dream. Another incentive to take care of myself. I'll have the time to put in the training and 100 hours of flight time to get licensed once i retire (used balloon rigs are fairly inexpensive). Just need to be heathy once I get there.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-06-12 20:41:19 -0500 Report

My friend, I know you'll make this dream a reality, it shows how much it means to you for it not to happen. Every time I see a balloon I'll think how much closer to your own you are:)

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