Reflecting on the Crash of Flight 261 and Living For Today

Today is January 31, the anniversary of the crash of Alaska Airlines flight 261 that killed everyone on board eighteen years ago. I was still a flight attendant then and was flying that day. As it happened, not long after the crash, our plane flew directly over the site. Our captain even wondered what the oil slick on the water was from.

He knew it wasn't good.

There was a short time when my friends and family had no idea whether I'd been on that flight or not. It was sobering for them and for me. In fact, my brother and I weren't even speaking at the time, though thankfully the crash changed that.


I knew several of the flight attendants on board, including Craig Pulanco, who had brought his partner Paul along with him for the layover in Puerto Vallarta. Since I was flying at that very moment, it wasn't hard to imagine Brent and myself being on that flight, and that it was our lives cut tragically short.

The crash is especially on my mind today because it's a reminder none of us knows how long we have and that we need to think carefully about how we choose to spend that time.

It makes me even more grateful that I've spent my life trying to make it as a writer, and that earlier this month, Brent and I left Seattle to live and work in different places around the world. It was a bit of a scary decision, but far less terrifying than reaching the end of my life with a heap of regrets.

If I happen to die tomorrow, I'll go without regretting not having tried to make my dreams happens or not trying to get everything possible out of life. You can't ask for much more than that.