In the late 1970’s, there were really only two ways to arrive and leave Key West. One way was to drive the narrow US 1 Highway. The other was via the only airline who flew in and out of Key West at that time. The airline, AIR SUNSHINE, was affectionately called “Air Sometimes” because of the way it inconsistently adhered to it’s travel schedule. Perhaps the difficulty with arrival and departure is why Key West was not heavily visited by tourists at that time. Key West being the paradise that it was (and still is) made it difficult for anyone to want to leave the most southern point of the continenal U.S. This is why it was not uncommon to hear people say, “I’m not leaving until the last flight out,” savoring every last moment of the turquoise water, salty air, and sunshine on their faces, fully aware that the flight might not come that day and oh well – we will stay a bit longer. There’s a joke that some people in Key West came to visit and never left..they are still waiting for their “last flight out.”
Last Flight Out isn’t a concept unique to Key West. It’s a term that is used for other travels, but it’s also a beautiful metaphor for making choices that stretch to the edge of what’s possible.
Early on in our relationship, I can remember my husband asking me where I might like to travel for a weekend get-away. This Ohio girl without missing a beat said, “I don’t know. A Kentucky ‘resort’ might be nice.” OK, no offense to the state of Kentucky, but that’s right across the river. I mean – that’s all ya got!? He encouraged to me to dream bigger and has continued to encourage me to do so in other areas of my life.
I hope we all find our last flight out. I hope we are willing to play big, risk big, maybe even lose big in pursuit of that which sets our souls on fire. Whether it’s a career change, buying that house you’ve been watching on the market, spontaneously staying that extra night on the trip, I hope we choose ourselves by choosing that which is at the edge of what feels possible.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think, “Wow, I’m so glad I played it safe. I don’t have many memories or stories to share because everything was just right, just about all the time.” I want to live a life full of adventures, and colors, and risks.
Have you ever noticed how childhood seems to move so slowly? The space between Halloween and Christmas always felt so BIG to me. When I look back now, and I think the brain research might support this, it was because everything was still so new. I didn’t have as many experiences and memories to compare. Now, if adults aren’t intentional, it feels like life is just flying by with another holiday, another season, another day at work. Rinse. Repeat.
We get the most from our brains when we experience unexpected thrills and delights. How might we disrupt our normal in pursuit of big magic? How might we bring unexpected thrills and delights to our students? This is not frill or extra, this is a significant portion of the work. This is a way to gain deeper access to higher happiness levels. And happiness has the power to turn on all of the learning centers of the brain.
We don’t get a dress rehearsal. We get one shot at this beautiful life. So, I hope you are able to squeeze every ounce of goodness and joy out of it. Enjoy life’s little daily pleasures, yes. But also take that jump off the diving board into the beautiful, vast unknown.
It might be spoken in whispers but take a listen, and you might find your last flight out.
Content Credit: Clay, while I don’t know you personally, and I don’t know your last name, you seem awesome! This post was inspired by your writing on a poster I saw. The history, the diving board metaphor, many of these ideas came directly from you. I tip my hat to you. You inpire me!