You had plans.
…and then you got stuck in Oakland. In Oslo. In Omaha, Nebraska.
Weather. Aircraft swap. Maintenance. Flow. Crew rest. Staffing insufficiencies. Reflowed. Repositioned. Everything but returning home.
And that special someone is left sitting at a table for two, the complimentary bread getting cold and the server tapping his or her foot impatiently, both of them wondering if you’ll show.
You stood your mom up. Your best friend. Your boyfriend. Your wife. Your kids. Your roommate.
And you’re trying to get cell reception in a blizzard in Omaha to explain that you’re so sorry and you’ll have to reschedule.
Welcome to the flight attendant life.
It’s hard. Really, really, really hard sometimes. This is what they don’t warn you about. The long days that turn into being stuck somewhere that’s not home. Making plans that you continually break. Missing birthdays, holidays, year after year after year.
So what do you do?
How do you maintain any sort of normal life schedule? How do you find balance in this crazy flight attendant life?
I am one year, eight months and 28 days into this career. And I’m going to tell you something surprising.
I have no idea what I’m doing.
I love the freedom of this job. I love the overnights and the surprises and the “oh-we’re-stuck-in-San-Diego-now-because-our-airplane-got-struck-by-lightning” moments.
But I hate the long stretches away from home. I hate the gritty, bad wifi Skype calls home where I keep on a happy face and only let myself cry once we’ve said our goodbyes. I hate that I don’t get to snuggle with my cat every night. I hate that I have to make decisions like “do I get to see my Mom for Christmas or do I get on a flight so I can get back to base in time for work?”
I hate the lifestyle.
But I love the job.
And so here’s what I’ve discovered:
I’m learning how to say “no.”
“No” to plans with distant acquaintances, long lost college roommates, old co-workers. “No” to going out to drinks with my crew on layovers (those gritty Skype calls won’t make themselves). “No” to working overtime. “No” to long trips with fun layovers. “No” to traveling on my days off (yes, really, for now.) “No” to airport food. “No” to unhealthy behavior. “No” to unhealthy thinking.
And I’m learned how to say “yes.”
“Yes” to spending all day on the couch with my boyfriend and cat on our one day off together. “Yes” to family. “Yes” to a simpler budget in which I get to work a little less. “Yes” to cooking at home. “Yes” to shorter trips. “Yes” to taking care of myself, “yes” to creating a healthy environment in which I can thrive, physically, mentally and emotionally, “yes” to finding my priorities.
Yes to balance.
Join us here at TheFlightAttendantLife.com in making resolutions for the New Year! Tag your posts on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag: #theFAlifeGOALS show us how you’re finding balance in 2016.
Happy New Year!
writer // dreamer // adventurer // flight attendant
I was reading your blog post with tears in my eyes. Not because I am sad but because your post gave me hope. The beginning of February will be my FA anniversary. I started in 2015 on this journey. Everybody said ‘you are sooo lucky, I wish I had your job.’ And the past month I started to regret my decision of becoming an FA. Working at a newly opened base with FA’s that have never flown before the sickness rate was sky high (no pun intended), being called out of every standby, a lot of disruption this summer due to extreme weather conditions, not feeling supported by your base manager and never having a weekend off to spend with your friends or go to that festival which you bought tickets for 5 months ago. I could go on and on. But I won’t. Ofcourse the job is demanding but I need to work on my own decision making too. I always want to please my friends and family, even the ones that I don’t really keep in touch with. On my days off I just want to be home and do what I want to do. But no, I end up saying yes to things I know 100 percent sure I don’t want to do. From now on I am saying NO!! Thank you for this great post!