Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pilot Training, Part III

As I've mentioned before, I got a ton of unasked for advice about how busy Einstein would be, how much my life would suck, etc.

Before I move on to the subject of today's post, I am going to go ahead and say, yes, Einstein is busy. Yes, some nights (like tonight) I come home and make dinner and know that he won't eat it with me. Boo hoo. I don't think pilot training is anyone's ideal of newlywed life, but it is not horrible. He gets weekends off, even if he does spend most of the weekend studying. We live amongst a super close community of people our age all dealing with the same issues. Also, the noise of jets overhead is just plain (plane?? haha pun!) cool. But yes. The rumors are true. Expect that of the 13 months of training, your spouse will spend at least 6 of them (if not more) working full 12 hour days, and studying most of the other 12 per day. Accept the long hours, see "Pilot Training, Post II", stock up on Lean Cuisines, and move on.

Now, on to address what I consider to be the most difficult part of pilot training. The emotional work. And I do mean work. Pilot training is mentally and physically exhausting, but the emotional exhaustion that the students struggle with is harder. The always hanging overhead knowledge that you are in direct competition with the other students in your class. The "tough love" or really, just tough, teaching methods of some of the Instructor Pilots. The fact that the pace never lets up- there is always something coming up that must be studied for and prepared. I thought that Einstein had the market cornered on mental (and emotional) toughness. I still think he does, in comparison to some of the dudes we know here.

BUT. It is so hard to find the emotional reserves to be his supporter and cheerleader. Especially on days like today, when I would like a little attention myself. It is hard to maintain the "Hey, you can do it!" attitude when you know that your location and lifestyle depend on how well he does in training. His frustration, mostly with himself, can be hard to deal with. The pressure is intense, and emotions run high.

So that is what I struggle with the most: keeping my own emotions on an even keel and helping him deal with the ups and downs of UPT. I've come to accept the highs and lows, and mostly just focus on reminding him how much I love him and how much faith I have in him.