My 11-year-old son and I traveled to another state to visit my sister, and we had to change planes in a large city to get there. We were delayed in getting onto our plane in our hometown due to mechanical issues, and then the airport in the large city where we were to make our connection grounded all incoming and outgoing flights due to weather. By the time we got this message, we had already boarded our plane. This resulted in sitting on the runway for well over an hour waiting for clearance to take off.
The Faith of a few years ago would have been freaking out. We only had a one-hour layover, so once we passed an hour of waiting to take off, I knew that we would miss our connection unless that flight was also delayed long enough for us to catch it. Additionally, my sister lives in a very small town with limited flight access, and we were booked on the last flight of the day. So, if we missed our flight, we would be spending the night in the big city.
A few years ago, I would have needed to take a Xanax to calm my anxiety. I could have obsessed about whether we would catch our connection and what we would do if we missed it. Instead, I read my book, worked on some Sudoku puzzles, and chatted with my kid. I also told him how proud I was of him (the child with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD) for being so well-behaved while having to sit for almost two hours before we took off.
When we arrived in our connecting city, we learned that we had missed our connection by 10 minutes. Three years ago, I would have fought a panic attack with Xanax. Instead, I went to the customer service booth and was relieved to hear that the airline would pay for a hotel overnight. It was inconvenient not to have saline solution for my contacts or a clean set of clothes, but I took it in stride and have decided to add those items to my carry-on baggage from now on.
I am not saying I was thrilled by the delay, but I was able in the moment to notice my progress. I only snapped at my kid once (when he dropped our dinner on the floor of the airport shuttle), but I apologized within minutes and got back to joking with him. To the “old Faith,” this would have been a nightmare experience. Today, it’s an anecdote.
Photo credit: Hekatekris