I remember being on a red eye flight to Perth once, when I was 7, back in 2004…
Long story short, I was so busy sobbing away. I didn’t want to leave Singapore, because back then all I thought about was being with my friends, not wanting to leave them. Perhaps I was too young to understand what a vacation was. I thought going to Perth was forever. The 1 week vacation felt like eternity. Nevertheless I was crying all the way from the check-in counter to in-flight.
My family didn’t know how else to pacify me, since they’ve probably have tried all kinds of methods. But, it was not until this flight attendant called ‘Vivian’, came around and spoke to me. She had on a cheerful countenance, as every other flight attendant. I remember her donning the SQ’s blue Kebaya (denoting the fact that she was a junior flight stewardess) and that her hair was bun up into a really pretty french twist. Her skin was fair, and now that I think about it, she probably was in her early twenties then.
“Hi! What’s your name?”
And that was all it took to stop my crying.
“Hi Vanessa, I’m Vivian. I’ll be taking care of you during your flight okay? Would you like a colouring book?”
And.. as you probably would guess, the rest was history. In case you were wondering, yes the rest of flight was as peaceful and quiet as any other red-eye flight. I bet my parents thanked the Heavens for Vivian. Vivian came around very often to check up on me, gave me all kinds of food, whatever I wanted. And she would always joke and ask me what I was busy drawing. We laughed. She was like an elder sister figure. The end of the flight came soon, and a picture of Vivian and I was what I presented to her. A token of a 7 year old’s love and appreciation for a flight crew. That picture changed my life, or rather Vivian changed my life. I wanted to be just like her.
I think when you’re 7 and you say you want to be something, or someone, no one would take you seriously. But over the years things change, you get more level-headed and well, to put it bluntly, you grow up. And when you’re 20 and you say you want to do something, or be someone, people actually do start to take you seriously.
I’ve always wanted to fly, I’ve always wanted to be part of the team up in the skies. It’s amazing how 13 years later, my dream has never changed. And now that there are actually opportunities for me to pursue my dream, well, it’s exciting but scary all in one.
But let’s be honest, no parent would beam with pride and joy if their child tells them they want to fly the skies. And over the years, I have successfully kept mum about my flying dream, having gotten rather terrible comments and disapproval from many family members. I remembered the mocks and ridicule I got, the horrible things people can say towards something they know nothing much about. It haunted me over the years, my secret desire that I’ve been harbouring in my heart. Those nights I wondered if maybe this desire was going to disappear over the years, and sure enough I tried to out grow it but to no avail. Every time I get on a plane, the rush of excitement, the warm fuzzy feeling, it was always the same. Being in the airport, seeing familiar uniforms walking past, even that was enough to churn a longing in my heart.
And, it was not until recently that I truly asked myself: “Will I actually really go for it?”
These few months saw the serious deliberation and contemplation about my flying career. Can I do it? Should I do it? Is this the right thing to do? What will my relatives think of me? Is this what God wants me to do? All these questions consumed me, day in day out. I was so afraid of what people wanted of me, what people thought of me and what people expected of me. Ironically I was so busy caring about what others wanted for me, that I forgot what I wanted for myself. What truly makes me happy.
It was not until I chanced upon this article online which was something I truly needed to hear. Just to be clear, it wasn’t the answers to all my questions but instead, it felt as if God was guiding me into making the decision that’s going to change my life forever.
“Do you remember your childhood dreams? All 5-year-olds know how to dream. You know the typical fantasies. We dreamed of becoming a firefighter, astronaut, ship captain, artist or rock star. But then life happens. Some of us were told our dreams were unrealistic. You may have been one of those kids. Somewhere along the way, you were taught to be realistic, to stay inside the lines and recognise that growing up means you need to show up at eight o’clock, do your boring job and go home to a dreary existence at five o’clock.” ~ DAN MILLER, 2012
That’s when I felt God nudging me to think about what I truly wanted to be when I was a kid. And that was how I knew…
I think as teens, or rather 20-going-on-to-21, it’s so easy to get caught up with what people think of you. We are so susceptible to the chains of people’s expectations and ideas of you, to the point where sometimes I do see people living out careers and lives stemming from not what God wants, not what they want but what people wanted them to do. And that is such a perfect example of who I don’t want to become.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
~ 1 Colossians 10:31.
Another thing I struggled with when deciding if I should pursue flying, was whether or not my desire to fly was a self-centred and superficial desire. I didn’t know how God was going to use me if I were to fly and I struggled so hard, trying to grasp how He would do it. It was as if I was trying to take his job. But sometimes, sometimes you got to take a step back and see it from a bigger picture. God is always in control, and if He planted that desire in my heart since I was 7, when I was nowhere near a teen let alone someone who had the mental capacity to understand anything… it has got to signify something even greater. For a 7 year old to know in that instant that that was what she wanted to do when she grew up, that flying was going to be her part of her life… now that means something.
I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know if I will be able to make it in. But what I do know is that God will start what he has finished in me. And after all these years battling the fear and doubt, what I can say now is that I finally have the courage to pursue a dream that lights my heart on fire. So don’t be afraid, I know it can be scary. But a life worth living is one where passion meets purpose.
I hope you’ll find the courage, no matter how long it takes, to pursue the hidden and long-lost dreams of your heart.
Always ask yourself, what did 7 year old you wanted to become?
Always so much Love to everyone,