This is the 15th article in a summer series on what travel has to teach us about life.
Being a nervous flyer, I made sure to read up on my airline’s rules for carry-ons, even measuring my bag to ensure it would fit in the overhead compartment.
Despite all my planning, and no matter how I shoved and reshaped it, it could not be squeezed into the space. I noticed a cute blonde Mom with a cute blonde 2-year-old babbling on about her husband to her rowmate while glaring at me accusingly. I gave her a look back that I hoped conveyed I wasn’t in the mood for her judgments. She quickly glanced away.
I sat down on my seat and thought, ‘There is a solution to everything.’ Some long ago episode of the Dr. Phil Show came crashing into my head, and I took three deep breaths just as he’d once advised a panic prone guest to do in a pinch.
The extra air cleared my mind enough to realize I could transfer my beloved pair of black Birkenstocks into my handbag, a viable contender for the biggest on earth. After the switch, I stood back up and shoved my duffel into the overhead compartment with all the force of a person who wasn’t taking no for an answer anymore.
Duffel complied this time. Blonde lady, whose eyes were once again boring into me, paused in her endless chatter at the “thunk” that ensued as it slid into place. I actually nodded at my duffel bag, as if to say “that a boy”, then sat back down and turned the cabin fan on full blast.
Ugh. What a year. As self-pity came a knocking, asking me to open the door to the temporary relief it offered, I began doing a year in review to find food to feed its voracious appetite. However, what began as an exercise in woe is me quickly turned upside down, as one thought came through clear and strong:
‘I’ve faced absolute heartbreak head on and worked through it. Therefore, I am completely over my ex-husband.’
OK. Wow, well, that’s one goal achieved for the year. What else could I come up with?
‘I’ve managed to keep afloat financially, and have gained spiritual faith because of it.’
OK. Good on goal two.
‘I’ve been to four rock concerts, two pro hockey games, and on three road trips, thus achieving my resolution to get out and experience life more.’
‘I’ve begun writing my story.’
Check and mate on goal four.
By touchdown in Baltimore, I’d made a new goal: Replacing self-pity with self-gratitude. Because we are all much more glorious than we often give ourselves credit for, and our greatness needs acknowledged in order to fully shine out onto the world.
Have you thanked yourself today?