I’m writing this because I could go on and on about what I miss about flying internationally for the European Airline. (Also, I could go on and on about the missing, because I’m writing this while flying on my old airline as a passenger). I give myself a gentle pat of consolation and a quiet reminder that I did maximize the enjoyment of my previous job; the layovers, friendships, and experience. I didn’t take it for granted, and I always knew quitting would never be easy. I always knew that I would miss it when I left. But knowing it and living it have been different beasts.
Sadly for me, “miss it” could be the biggest understatement of 2017, and yet, I didn’t make a mistake. I am simply in this in-between of losing what I loved and gaining what I will love. Simply stated, that in-between is hard.
So, I’m listing the good things which have resulted in my life because I left. Although, I don’t take much time to appreciate them and have never made a list like this, it’s fair to mention that there are bonuses in my life now that I didn’t have before. There are always a few perspectives in the story and this perspective is one I need to consider— especially in the moments when all I want to do is curl up and cry because I lost my adventure.
“Courage, Dear Heart.” It’s only a matter of time before you tell yourself, ‘Thank You,’ for starting over.
- I ditched “The Commute.”— Commuting from Los Angeles to Ft Lauderdale had drained me. In September, I had determined to move to FLL and forget my beach life in California, but the pieces I tried to put together to begin my life on the East Coast, didn’t match-up. I tried to keep the job and change my home, but really, it seemed that wasn’t going to be my story. I had no more energy to jump bi-coastally. Being in one location and not dealing with the commute has been the biggest pro to my new life.
- Corporate Flight Attendants have a greater earning potential than commercial flight attendants— Although The Airline was easy work and one is paid decently for it, there would always be a certain cap on salary. In addition, for months I had been working part-time hours (I had no choice about this) which resulted in the stress of debt and wondering how I would cover even the most basic of bills. With corporate aviation, there are flight attendants who make six-figure incomes. The job entails more responsibility and one is compensated for that. Depending on what account and owner a corporate flight attendant ends up flying for, he or she can work very little— i.e. 5 days a month— and still make $65k-$95k per year. That’s an estimate of what is possible, because truly, in corporate aviation there is so much variance, you don’t really know what will happen. But, there is so much possibility…
- My circadian rhythm has reset— I’m sleeping through the night— every night— now. For almost two years, I would wake-up every couple of hours, in whatever timezone I was located. My body and circadian rhythm was completely confused. I’ve found a regularity and that is something I need to be grateful for, before it will become all flipped around when I start flying again.
- My body weight decreased— It’s not like I’ve lost a lot of weight, but I can tell the ‘Flight Attendant 15’ has been naturally disappearing. I’m more lean and healthy than I have been in probably 8 years, and what’s great is that I haven’t made any purposed efforts to restrict my diet or exercise more. Sleeping every night really changes your body for the better.
- My long-term goals are more attainable on my new path— Looking at the long-term picture, where I have started now, makes sense. Staying at The Airline could have worked just fine, but if I really looked at what I wanted for my future, the steps didn’t add up. I need a career path where my time is billed at a higher rate; this so I can ultimately work less and write more. I also want a relationship and a family and at the rate I was going with commercial aviation and commuting, that wasn’t looking bright. (Currently, it’s not looking that bright either). My short-term place— both personally and professionally— is very depressing and discouraging. It feels like I just took a million steps back, but I have to remember, castles aren’t created overnight. It’s not really about how things look in the moment. It’s about what I’m doing every day that will eventually lead me to where I want to be.
- I’m becoming a pilot— I quit taking flying lessons when I went to The Airline three years ago and if I had stayed at that job, I know I wouldn’t have pursued becoming a pilot. Now, due to being close to The Farm, the opportunity is there for me to (easily) get my flight ratings. This is exciting, because working towards this goal will open up my future to a myriad of different options; with career paths that would allow me to live in Singapore, Hong Kong, or maybe even return to the Dreamliner and sit in the cockpit. It’s years and years away, but flying upfront was never really on my mind until I started at the private aviation company.
- I’m making new friends— One of my favorite things in life is to meet new people and the benefit of starting new is that I have been introduced to an entirely new circle of wonderful individuals who brighten my world.
- I have developed greater confidence and trust in myself and my decisions— I quit my previous job without having one. I’ve started over and although it has felt tumultuous many times, it is one of the most amazing gifts to feel like I am the driver of my life. I feel like I have control over my happiness and destiny instead of helplessly hoping that my schedule will be what I want and wish that it would. Quite simply, quitting has been one of the hardest things for me to face, and I’ve faced it. I will face it. I’m proud of myself for doing what I needed to do for me.
Maybe you have quit flying and you miss it so much it hurts. Well, I don’t really have words to make you feel better, because I feel it too. But, I understand. I understand how hard it is. Let’s hang-in there, ok? Let’s remember all the new blessings that have filled the space of what we miss and all the new beautiful things that will continue to fill what we left.