Blue Skies Mag #81: The Great Christmas Debacle of 2006
Blue Skies Mag #81: The Great Christmas Debacle of 2006
Life is unpredictable. It just is. And as they say in The Terminator,
“The future is not set. There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.”
We always have the power to decide, moment-to-moment, situation-to-situation, with whatever information or outcomes come to us at every turn, what we’re going to do with whatever is happening. How we’re going to BE with whatever’s happening.
We are capable of handling crazy.
We are capable of breathing through stress.
We are capable of seeing opportunity.
We are capable of seizing opportunity.
This is a skill we can cultivate and continually practice.
I’m the girl who’s totally cool with the wicked early flight because I know when I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go. It’s how I roll. So today, 3am wake-up, 3:45am Lyft, airport check-in, SkyClub breakfast, boarding, and boom, we are en route to Atlanta for an easy-peasy connection and still-morning Newark arrival.
You may have a guess where this is going.
If tornadoes in Atlanta that divert you to Savannah to chill on the tarmac for hours before you luckily get to depart within the 20-minute window Air Traffic Control gives you such that you make it to Atlanta then stand in the longest SkyClub line you’ve ever seen amidst a large number of people freakin’ out because the place is at full capacity and someone can only go in when someone comes out but it’s cool cause you’ve already been re-booked on a new flight that departs getting you home maaaaaaaybe before tomorrow… you’d be totally right.*
Oh hell yeah. A travel adventure at it’s finest. It’s not The Great Christmas Travel Debacle of 2006, but it’s pretty solid. Not to leave you wanting, suffice it to say The Great Christmas Travel Debacle of 2006 began on December 24th, ended in glorious victory over undesirable holiday circumstance on December 26th. In between, it may or may not have included being 300 feet off the runway in Albany only to pull up and fly all the way back to JFK, de-icing, crying, hours and hours and hours on the tarmac, Christmas Vacation… in Spanish, crying, lauhghing/crying, crews timing out, boarding, deplaning, all flights to everywhere in the Universe cancelled, and a victorious drive north in a Buick Skylark jammed to the gills with suitcases and adventurers over closed highways ending at 6am in a 7-11 parking lot hugging your Mom and The Major Bro.
May or may not have included that.
Yeah, I’ve learned a bit since then.
Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, so it’s now 7pm in Atlanta and the verdict is still out on whether or not I’ll make it home tonight. If I do, as of right now, my arrival time is 12:59am tomorrow morning, a mere 15 hours later than anticipated.
For me, this is no big deal. I feel super at ease in airports, I almost always get an odd surge of creativity, and walk through the insanity all around me in kind of a zen. It’s weird, but no joke, it’s like meditation for me. Also, much like skydiving, we simply cannot control the weather. As much as my weather app is fun to talk about, if it’s tossing hail our way, we’re not jumping. Even Delta doesn’t fly in that. Safety first, which is awesome mind you, and also entirely out of our control despite our desire to get home of to our destination.
So in this kind of situation, people respond in such a variety of ways. How do you respond? What would your experience be in a situation like this if you had to guess? Why? Anything about it you’d like to change?
The line into the SkyClub, which is normally zero people long, today was 50. People were freakin’ out. And others were totally calm. Some got more social, others stayed in their phones. It was a little microcosm of varied responses in a seemingly atypical situation. Some people ended up in the camp of muttering under their breath, clearly living in a state of anxiety, so far outside of their own bodies, fearful this travel situation would end up in an outcome they really don’t want.
Most of the elements of travel debacles are entirely out of our control, and like anything that is out of our control, if we attach our happiness and peace to it, we set ourselves up for that anxiety that we may end up unhappy or in whatever pain we deem will be derived from the suboptimal outcome.
I still might not get home tonight. I missed a class I’m psyched to be taking in the city. I want to get home to cuddle Matil. I want to ensure my client call times tomorrow are kept. I want to sleep in my own bed. I want to sleep, period.
I want ALL those things. And I still might not get them.
I still might not get them even on a day when my travel goes perfectly. So, I call us all to look at where anxiety strikes us and bring our focus back to the bits of life we can control… our breath… our pace walking through the airport… our choice to joke and connect with the fellow stranded travelers next to us instead of sitting solo and moaning in our heads things didn’t go the way we wanted them to go.
Things so rarely go the way we want them to go, so every time that happens, practice coming back to yourself. Practice sourcing your peace from you. From the thoughts you choose. Detach from outcomes you can’t control and instead embrace the adventure that is life and all the awesomeness that comes only from the things that DON’T go according to plan.
Every skydive is like this too… almost never do our skydives go entirely to plan. That’s how we get the learning curves that give us ways to grow and achieve and feel awesome in those incremental accomplishments. That’s how we meet the nice people sitting next to us in the SkyClub, share stories, bond in our shared struggle or goals, laugh at the epic funnel when we pause the video after and cry laughing at how stupid we all look, ETC.
Always remember, we never tell stories about the times things go right.
We never talk about things that are easy-peasy. Easy-peasy is boring. The Great Christmas Debacle of 2006 is a story that endures only because it went so gratuitously “wrong.” Today is absolutely becoming one of the stories, and I don’t know about you, but I’m down.
Every bit of life is fun if that’s how we decide to see it.
Sure, I like it when I get what I want, and I really like it sometimes when I don’t too. You? Tizzle 2.0, out.