I slept 13 hours and when I woke up, I really wanted to keep sleeping another four or five, but I had to write some things before those in another corner of the globe woke up. Some deadlines can’t be missed. I told myself as soon as I finished the three articles, I was allowed to go back to sleep, and I did. It was 3 pm when I finally woke-up again. And if felt good; staying in bed all day or at least not operating at such an intense and fast pace. Sleep is such a beautiful thing. Being back to flying after my recent leave has made me so much more aware of how I am feeling both physically and emotionally. I find myself at times very worried that I will lose the rest and peacefulness that I cultivated when I was grounded. It’s funny how that used to be a childhood term of horribleness, but now it’s so appealing in my life. For example, an email came through from work yesterday threatening that if the employees did not send some paperwork something-something, we would could possibly be “grounded” and not allowed to fly until the papers were submitted. I thought, “Gosh- that could be nice. A forced leave…

I’m not being serious about wanting another leave, or at least not completely. I’m very happy to be back. My friend Brian commented the other day, “You’re life is SO fun!” I laughed and brushed it away that he should know it’s a social media thing, but what I did agree with is that I am having a whole lot of fun. I think that’s part of this new way I’m looking at flying; with more thankfulness and appreciation than I had before. With eyes full of curious enjoyment, looking for the fun.

Alana Fickes Kara Mulder travel blogger vlogger youtube

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Lowe and Alana Fickes

I am also paying more attention to my health, my body and my mind. I’m cutting people, activities and tasks to what is truly necessary. I don’t have time for everyone and I don’t have time for everything if I am going to maintain my mental clarity and keep stress at a minimum. Not everyone and everything deserves your attention. Remember that.

I woke up July 5th, in Los Angeles and I felt hungover. The thing was, I hadn’t been out drinking to celebrate Independence Day. I haven’t drank in awhile as I just don’t want to. I feel better without. I met up with friends after flying in from Stockholm and didn’t get the sleep that I needed. This hit me hard yesterday as I was grumpy and fuzzy. During the flight it was bumpy, and I felt  nauseous and ill feeling. I knew this was due to not enough sleep. I don’t at all want to end up in the situation I was before with being so exhausted, so I’ve been sorting through my days and my life as best I can, focusing on the things that are most important. I have to keep myself prioritized and depending on the day, my priorities change slightly. When I was in LA, my priority was spending time with my friends. Now that I am in Norway, my priority has been sleep. When I am on a trip, my priorities are flying, my freelance work, and sleep. When I am on days off, it shifts to freelancing, blogging, business and fitness. I just cannot do it all, so I just do the best that I can. It’s not perfect, but I’ll never get to perfect.

Before my three months of rest, I think I viewed flying as the most important thing in my life. I viewed blogging as it needed me and I needed it. I was tied to its success and although I still want it to succeed, something has shifted.  Before I thought of my success as an individual to be dependent on what became of all of the entrepreneurial ventures that I was part of, or started. Now, flying is not the most important thing. The blog is not the most important thing. My freelance contract (although probably what goes on the top of my priority list currently) is not the most important thing. My friendships, although I value them completely, is not the most important thing. My personal self-care is what is most important and sometimes that means sleeping less to go to lunch and buy hats with my best friend Emily. Sometimes that means looking fancy for a flight. Sometimes that means going to church, riding my bike or laying on my bed and doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes that just means sleeping all day long.

Emily Dryden Kara Mulder flight attendant best friends

I realized that after taking a leave and coming back to the sky that I could be happy without flying. I didn’t know this before. I realized that I can be happy with no money or with money, staying in the same bed every night or being back in the sky bouncing from hotel to hotel to hotel. I’ve looked for freedom in my flight attendant life and there really isn’t as much as it seems there would be, but I feel more free than I ever have before. Because, it’s not about an airline, about being a flight attendant, a blogger, a writer or an entrepreneur. I am discovering that I am most free when I simply rest in the person that I am today; faults, fears, failures and all and accept myself for who I am. This approach of acceptance, self-care, and releasing the need for outside entities to provide me happiness I believe is how I will always be able to find happiness. And it’s a journey. It will always be a learning process of reminders and moments that God sends my way to encourage me on the path that I was meant to walk and the way I can best show up in the world. This approach looks alright…
Airplane window boeing dreamliner

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.

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