I think there are life lessons that happen all the time around us.  For me, one of the most significant and scariest life lessons I experienced was back in April 1999.

I was on a flight from Houston back to Albuquerque, New Mexico where I was living at the time training for the 2000 Olympics.

As the plane lifted off and began to ascend, everyone on the plane suddenly heard a loud BANG!  The plane went silent.  My first thought was what the heck was that?  I quickly looked over at the flight attendant thinking that they hear a lot of weird noises all the time.  Was this just another weird noise?

When I looked over, I saw the flight attendant anxiously looking out the window with tears rolling down her face.  I thought to myself, please no, I’m too young to die.  My entire life flashed in front of me in an instant.  The guy that was sitting next to me kept saying, “please no this can’t be happening.”  I have 3 daughters!”

Within a few minutes the pilot notified everyone that one of the engines blew and that he was going to circle the airport and land.  That next 10 minutes was the longest 10 minutes of my life. He successfully landed the plane amidst emergency vehicles that quickly circled the plane.

We safely exited the plane and I never felt so relieved as I did at that moment.

That experience taught me to never take a day for granted and to realize that each day is a gift and an opportunity.  I make a conscious effort each day to be present and in the moment as difficult as it can be some days.  We never know what tomorrow has in store.  What we do know is we can make great days!  One of the main focal points in the gym is a large banner on the wall that says, “Today I Will Give Everything I Have.”

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