I felt it—this sense of peace and internal contentment—all amidst an extremely exhausted body. I never feel this way after flying, I think. Not anymore. I never feel this exact sense of ‘accomplished happy.’ The tired experienced from flying is an all too familiar headache-y induced fuzz, and it hurts. It hurts in a different way than I am hurting now. My muscles currently grumble angrily in sharp and dull aches. I reach in the fridge to grab my salad, and that reach demands that I acknowledge muscles that I didn’t even know existed until this moment. Ohhhccchh…It hurts!

But, I smile. Because this pain means that I was doing something that I loved.

I’m tired, but it’s ‘a good kind of tired.’ I’m tired, because I’ve been kiteboarding. It challenges me, inspires me, and makes me insanely happy. It makes me feel the exhausted happy that only doing something you enjoy can bring. It makes me feel alive. It’s such a good kind of tired. 

There is something about the beach, sun, sand, and wind that has me feeling all sorts of free. That kite intimidates me. I’m giddy and nervous in excitement, anticipation, and expectation. It’s like a first date with a hot guy every time I go kiting. You know that feeling you get on a first date? That. Every. Single. Day.

Oh heaven. 

Boracay Philippines

I do get that giddy feeling on my layovers, over the thoughts of seeing my friends at the destinations, when eating Avocado Toast in Copenhagen, but me and my relationship with flying— we aren’t buds right now. I KNOW I go through this love it/hate it thing with flying. You know this if you read the blog often or never, but this time, it feels different. I feel different. Something is different. It just is. And it’s not just about being worn down, disconnected, and frustrated with being treated ‘less than.’ I can’t explain that statement right now, but I’m realizing that:

I’m living a dream life that is so fun and that I 100 percent appreciate, but is it still my dream? 

It no longer gives me “a good kind of tired.” It gives me the tired that’s a never ending cycle of red eyes, jet lag, confined schedules that keep me to confined places and spaces. It’s a tired that is tired of being told my nails can’t be this and I have to be that, making me want to scream inside, “BUT I’M JUST NOT THAT!”

I am the BIGGEST testament to the story of what so many of us do— stay in relationships, jobs, cities, and experiences, because it’s easy. Because we are complacent. Because we really don’t want to work that hard at our dreams. Because our dream seems a little bit too crazy. Because our dream won’t be accepted or understood by our community. Because we don’t even fully understand our dream. The only thing I can tell you in response to this (because I’ve been telling myself this), is that:

the world isn’t required to understand you, believe in you, or think ‘It’s a good idea.’ And that is perfectly ok.

Let them be and do your thing. 

Kara Mulder Don't Quit Your Daydream

I’ll admit something that I’ve been saying recently about my own life. I tell people in conversation that, “Being a flight attendant is the easiest, most fun job in the world. It’s so easy and fun! I don’t really want to work that hard to be a writer, or struggle to become something else. It’s good enough, and I like it just enough to stay.” oh.my.goodness. Writing that just makes it so real and sound…like I resigned myself to a life to simply exist. I’m not that girl or maybe I should say, “That’s not the girl that I want to be.”Identity, career changes and change in general are…woah. (For lack of  a better description. I essentially mean overwhelming, but picture eyes wide and frozen in uncertainty).

I’ve dealt with the tired that flight attendant life brings, because I’ve deemed it “worth it.” And, it has been, but somewhere along the way of last week, last month, and the month before that, it’s become where I don’t belong. Like, the feeling of a worn out pair of shoes or shoes that are too small. It just doesn’t feel right or fit or look good anymore. Holy shit, I can’t believe I’m saying all this right now…

I’m not complaining about my job. I’m not saying I’m leaving or quitting. I’m just telling you— like I would tell one of my besties. We’re having a conversation over coffee, you know. I’m telling you my thoughts and feels. I’m telling you it is an amazing job and such a fun life. I love it, but it’s just what I do. It’s no longer who I am. 

Jetset t-shirt

I don’t believe tired is the problem. I believe it’s the kind of tired that causes disconnection and discontentment. What kind of tired are you experiencing? Is it that ‘good kind of tired,’ or the ‘hopeless acceptance tired’ that this is all your life will ever be?

Well, you know what?

Your life can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe you just need to be reminded of what a good kind of tired feels like. 

Kiteboarding Ft Lauderdale

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

  1. Hm. I can relate to the “tired” part but first I want to comment on:
    “Being a flight attendant is the easiest, most fun job in the world. It’s so easy and fun!”
    I’m assuming you’re kidding, or at the very least, being sarcastic. 😉

    Not the easiest and most fun for many of the people I know that are Flight Attendants.
    Initial Training is not easy. Plenty of people flunk out.
    Recurrent is sometimes not easy. Some are removed from active duty because they “flunk” recurrent.
    Working for a regional airline, where on-time performance and the almighty dollar are the most important things, is not easy.
    Working with the travelling public is not easy. Not when you’re called every name in the book and problems with immigration, passport control, the TSA are all YOUR fault.
    Altered working conditions thanks to the airline lobby being successful in getting fewer FAs on airplanes with more seats crammed in – is not easy.
    Working with young people that don’t care, because it’s “just a summer/winter/seasonal job is not easy. Not when you care.
    Working with co-workers that are pathological liars and experts at manipulation is not easy.
    HR departments that ignore serious issues regarding harassment (sexual or otherwise) or the aforementioned liars/manipulators do not make the job easier.
    Because you’re just one cog in a machine that often breaks down – the job is not easy. You bust your hump to get that flight out on time, work up a sweat trying to serve 50 people a drink in 30 minutes – to which some complain because they didn’t get a refill, while 4 in the back didn’t get anything because you ran out of time- is not easy.

    I’ve been an FA on everything from less than 50 seats to over 480 seats. The larger the aircraft the easier it is. The smaller, the harder/more challenging.

    I remember many years ago hot prepping meals into trolleys thinking, “is this all I’ll ever do?” I went away from it for a while but you know once it’s in your blood for some of us, it never goes away, so I did. I never worked so hard as I do at a regional carrier.

    Is it the most “fun” job in the world? Meh. It has it’s moments – this week hasn’t had any that I recall. Delays, abusive passengers, mechanicals, abusive passengers, weather etc.

    Lets just say that right now, I’m not feeling the love for it so much as I am thrilled to have the next few days off. It’s still better than an office job, but thats just me.

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