Flying was not what Aristotle had in mind when he wrote about The Good Life. But I think if he'd had an opportunity to try it, he would have agreed that it can lead to a profound sense of happiness. Sharing the sky with circling hawks and ancient pelicans. Making the sun set twice on the same day. Staring down your wing with amazement that something as simple as its shape can cause a piece of metal to defy gravity. Finding within yourself the skill and precision that enable you to control that piece of metal until it is safely back on the ground.
For many pilots, flying is not just a challenge, not just a hobby, not just a form of transportation. It is a state of being. You really do become one with the airplane and, by extension, with the very atmosphere that sustains us. You feel proud, peaceful, competent, happy - a well executed flight is the kind of activity that can indeed be a component of The Good Life.
It is, at any rate, a component of my good life. Other components include being a teacher, a traveler, and a writer of long letters home. But I won't talk about those here - these pages are about my flying life.