Thursday, December 29, 2011

Negative return

OK, here I go again writing about space shuttles…
But once again, this is not all about the shuttles, but just as much about life and people in general, really.

Those who know the shuttles well might recognize the call “Negative return” from Mission Control Center in Houston and know that, in its’ original meaning, this call indicates that a space shuttle has literally passed the point of no return after a launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In other words: the departing shuttle is so high, so far away and travelling so fast that it’s no longer possible to just nose over and glide back to Kennedy for landing, which up until then is how they would actually abort the launch if it came to that.

2011 got to be the year that all 3 surviving space shuttles flew their final missions, so after Atlantis landed for the last time on 21. July, the term “Negative return” kind of took on a new meaning for the shuttle.

But anyway, I promised to talk about life and people, didn’t I?
Yes, I did. So, how do I get this thing to say something about life and people? Well, the shuttles had their abort plans and backout procedures. For every step of the way, there were detailed procedures describing how they would get out of a messy situation and put the shuttle back on the ground. For instance, after “Negative return”, they had landing sites in Europe or Africa (known as “TAL sites”, short for Trans Atlantic Landing sites) that could host a shuttle landing in an emergency. But as far as life itself goes, more often than not, there is no abort option or backout procedure that can be followed. Once you’re in this life you’re in it and what’s done is done. When life is great, you can’t make a backup of it for possible restore some time in the future. When things go wrong tomorrow, you can’t go back to yesterday to fix it and then try again some other time when you’ve figured out a better way to do things. What’s done is done and the days that go wrong in your life will stay wrong forever. But you don’t have to stay there with them, because there’s always a new day coming tomorrow. Mostly that’s a good thing, but some times that can be bad too. Either way, it’s coming. Not much you can do about that either. Hence, in a way, every living breathing moment is a “Negative return” call.

Life isn't always easy, but it always keeps going forward.
Some times it might seem like you’re stuck on the shores of hell and the only way out is through.

Getting through hell is not easy. But people do it every day.

Negative return.