Stairs and Elevators.

Zupp Staircase


Stairs and Elevators.

I’ve often perceived personal progress as the comparison between stairs and elevators. Sometimes it’s a laborious climb and sometimes a quick, quiet rise. Which method you employ can be beyond your control, dependent upon the whims of luck, timing and even a place and time of birth. Regardless of the route taken, life is a journey to be appreciated.

In my career, I spent a good many years flying small aircraft in a good many places, from the outback to New Guinea and even further north. I cherished those days of adventure and learning, even if my path to an airline role was delayed somewhat. Those experiences and places formed many of my fondest memories of flight. Even when I’d secured a “jet job”, it came to grief when the airline collapsed and I had to start again with a new carrier at the bottom of the pile.

By virtue of these sidesteps and stuttering strides, I eventually found myself flying as a co-pilot to captains that I had trained to fly years before. Far from being frustrated, it was with an immense sense of satisfaction that I had contributed to their career and was there to witness the “before and after.” In fact, in the interests of safety and crew co-ordination, I was honour-bound to express this and reinforce that they were now in command. There is no room for egos on the flight deck and any subtle confusion stemming from our history needed to be dispelled from the outset. I would simply say that they took the elevator and I took the stairs.

The hand we are dealt will steer our course and there is no right or wrong, better or worse – just the reality of the situation. What is sometimes forgotten is a sense of appreciation. Folks can get so caught up in comparison that they overlook the joy that surrounds them in the here and now. Social media can also be a devious culprit in aiding and abetting this envy. If you took the express route through a turn of good fortune – appreciate it. If you had to slog it out the long way – appreciate that, too.

Stairs and elevators are just the means of conveyance and both have their benefits. Don’t begrudge another’s journey, use that energy to appreciate your own. Then, once we’ve both surmounted the final steps, we can all enjoy the view and recall with humility how we got there.

Zupp Book 50 Tales of Flight.