Phil Vassar's "Don't Miss Your Life" was born where a lot of his songs get their start: at 30,000 feet above ground.

While most people settle into their seats on an airplane and immediately try to avoid talking to the person sitting next to them, the singer-songwriter takes to heart the term "friendly skies." When Vassar struck up a conversation with the man sitting beside him on one particular flight, and their musings on how fast life goes by planted the seeds for what would become his 2012 single.

The writer of hits such as "For a Little White" and "My Next Thirty Years" for Tim McGraw and "Bye Bye" for Jo Dee Messina, in addition to his own laundry list of hits including "American Child" and "Last Day of My Life," says he instantly knew he was onto something when he sat down to write "Don't Miss Your Life." The song cautions listeners to stop and smell the roses once in awhile and enjoy life before it passes by in the blink of an eye. Below, Vassar shares the story behind it, in his own words.

The main thing that strikes me about this song is, it's real -- it's about something real.

I just wrote it on an airplane. I was talking to a guy sitting next to me, who was retired, and it was a long, West Coast-to-East Coast flight. I do a lot of writing on airplanes anyway ... because I'm always a little bored and it gives me time to focus.

This guy was telling me, "Yeah, man, I'm retired now, and I was working so much I missed this and I missed that, because I was always gone and working." And I immediately thought about how much I miss with my own kids. I started going through my phone and looking at pictures, and it just really hit me. My kids send me pictures on the first day of school or all of that stuff when it happens, and I realized I'm not in any of these pictures -- I'm not in any of 'em!

So, suddenly I realized, wow, I have missed so much stuff. You don't even realize, because you're caught up in the middle of it at the time, so I think I got that song going pretty quickly because it was so real.

I wrote it with Charlie Black, and I knew right when we were done with it that this one is a special song. When you write one of those type songs, you just know.

This story was originally written by Lorie Hollabaugh, and revised by Angela Stefano.