A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle
Note: I wrote this well over a year ago. Not sure why it never made it into this blog. I managed to get it published on Facebook, then apparently forgot about it. Still, it celebrates a moment in time. So… Here it is!
Captain’s Log: June 27th. Three flights. Houston to Orange County, then to San Francisco, finally on to Medford. First Officer: LtC Robert Jordan, USAF (Ret) doing yeoman’s work by my side. Stormy weather departing Houston, but good for the rest of the day. 450 passengers carried. Thunderstorms negotiated. Delays managed. Medical “situation” dealt with. A good day.
And the second anniversary of my first day as Captain. In the ensuing two years I’ve operated 560 flights and accumulated 1,530 hours as pilot-in-command. I’ve enjoyed successes beyond anything I had imagined in my 25 years as a copilot. And there have been embarrassing failures, like the time as a rookie captain I caused a 4 hour delay because I didn’t understand an instrument reading I observed during my pre-flight safety checks. (In my defense, neither did my copilot who’d been on the plane for 4 years! ).
The people I’ve met have included WWII heroes who survived Bataan, movie stars, and politicians you’d know. And here’s the best part. It’s been my honor and privilege to carry 81,177 passengers to their moments that matter most: weddings, funerals, that one life-changing business meeting as well as many more that were mundane, family vacations, and even a quick jaunt over to San Francisco for dinner. Many of these missions would have been unimaginable only two generations ago. This is meaningful work for me.
Two years down. Just under 5 to go until current law will require me to hang up my Captain’s hat and my jacket with 4 stripes. That’s nothing. A blink of an eye. They’re gonna fly by (see what I did there?). I’ve enjoyed every minute of the last two years, and I plan to enjoy every minute of the next 5. Thanks for coming with me on this magnificent ride!
And while we’re talking… Victor Frankl offered in his landmark book that life is not so much a quest for pleasure or power as it is a search for meaning. Help me celebrate this milestone in my own life by sharing here what you do to find meaning in yours. Frankl went on to acknowledge that while challenges in life are inevitable, we can often find or create meaningful lives through those challenges. Where do you find meaning? Your life’s work, as I do? Volunteer work? Working your way through a heavy challenge?
My first flight of year 3 leaves Medford, OR tomorrow at 0631 Pacific Daylight Time with LtC Jordan, thankfully, still at my right hand. Boarding begins at 0551; the door will close at 0621. Don’t be late. I’m gonna push on time!
Thanks for reading!
Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today at 720.840.8361 to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: email@example.com for information.