As I write this, I’m getting ready to head to Las Vegas with the fam for a quick weekend visit. It’s become an annual event since my in-laws retired there a few years ago. By the time this is published, we’ll be wrapping it up, but I thought it might be a good time to share a little story about the frustrations of air travel. Of course, I’m bracing myself for the worst while hoping for the best.
Several years ago, my husband and I were headed to our very first tropical island vacation. It was going to be a long haul, but we were starry-eyed and more than ready. Our layover in Atlanta was cut short due to the delay of our first flight and so we found ourselves sprinting from one terminal to the next. Several other passengers were headed to the same destination, so for just a minute, I pretended we were on a season of Amazing Race and were going to beat the competition.
Alas, we were all losers. The gate was closed by the time we arrived and an airline employee barked at all of us to “go to the kiosk” in order to find the next flight. I mean, she was really shitty about it. She refused to make eye contact or say anything other than that simple phrase as she herded us like cattle between the ropes so we could self serve our way to fix the problem the airline itself had created for us.
A gentleman in front of us was very close to her at the time and had the audacity to say, “I mean, where’s the customer service?”
Well, that got her attention. Her head literally spun around to reveal her capacity to in fact make eye contact and hissed loudly through her clenched jaw, “Sir, customer service as you know it no longer exists. Go. To. The. Kiosk!”
The man turned around and looked at us with wide eyes and we stared back. All of us were rendered speechless and helpless.
Now of course we made it to paradise and eventually had one of the best experiences of our lives but the road to get there was rocky and full of emotion. Frustration, anger, sadness, regret…all of those things and more in the span of a few hours. We came out on the other side, weary and mentally bruised, though we did survive it. After all, there was really no other way out than to keep going forward, regardless whether or not we liked the approach.
Really digging into the source of your day-to-day actions and the emotions that drive them can be a lot like a really shitty experience with air travel most days. The difference is that you do have a way out. You can choose to halt the work on yourself at any point in time. You can bail out of the line for the kiosk where the only help you’re going to get is from yourself and you can head back home where there’s no conflict. But what is that going to get you?
I’ll tell you where it gets you. Right back to the point of origin. You will fall back into your old habits of numbing, avoiding, and pretending all is well as forge ahead with your jaw clenched. And it will all happen as fast as that airline employee’s head spun around when the man dared to question her customer service technique.
And so you can start over (again and again), or you can have the audacity to keep pushing forward through the hard part of negative emotions swirling around you. All you have to do is hold on to the realization that you can finally start living your best life with your glorious self as the ultimate tour guide, providing the best service you can imagine.
I assure you, this is completely attainable. It will not be easy and parts of it will not be fun. It will absolutely be the trip of a lifetime.
photo credit: anitacanita day 236_argh! via photopin (license)