We’ll pick you up at 6:40 in the morning, my dad said Friday night before we were leaving for England. I hung up and looked at our itinerary. It probably wasn’t as much time as I would have given myself, but catching our flight shouldn’t be a problem.
At 6:45 Saturday morning, my sister called. “We’re just leaving Alpine. Be outside and ready when we get there or we’re going to miss our flight! Alpine was 20 minutes away. When you speed.
At 7:10, my parents big white van pulled up. I looked at the clock on my phone. We’d definitely be pushing it now.
“We’ve gotta swing by and pick up Lydia,” my dad said.
I was tempted to look at my phone again. Lydia wasn’t far off the beaten path, but she definitely wasn’t on the way. I tossed my bags in and asked them how their fishing trip had gone the day before. I purposefully never did find out why they were so late.
When we got to Lydia’s apartment, she wasn’t answering her phone. My sister and mom paced anxiously outside of her apartment with no way to get in and up to the fifth story where Lydia lives. After about eight minutes and eighteen calls, Lydia finally picked up. Maybe she had fallen asleep, I don’t know. I purposefully never bothered to find out.
The next ten minutes were spent debating parking options while we drove. We had exactly one hour before our plane took off and we were still a good 15 minutes from the airport. My dad took my suggestion of using a 3rd party parking service that offered valet and direct drop-off at the terminal.
We pulled in to what might as well have been a ghost town and yanked all of our luggage from the van as fast as we could. A scrawny kid walked out with a slip of paper and handed it to my dad then disappeared again. A minute passed. No shuttle showed up. Two minutes passed. People were panicking, particularly my older sister. “We’ll be okay,” I said every time she alerted everyone in our group that we would definitely miss our flight. I even teased her at one point. “You’re a flying rookie. We’ll make it.” I was only trying to bring humor to the situation. She didn’t appreciate it very much.
Five minutes passed. No shuttle. Seven minutes. No shuttle. At about the eight minute point, a shuttle finally pulled up and the driver began hauling all of our luggage on board. Once on our way, we looked at our watches. It didn’t look good; nobody could deny that. My sister just kept saying, we’re going to miss our flight, we’re going to miss our flight. I kept telling her we’d be fine. No worries.
Every time I said it I could tell my lack of worry was wearing thin on her. She wanted me to feel the panic and urge that she did.
The shuttle dropped us off and we ran inside. 35 minutes until our plane was scheduled to leave. The lady at the service desk proceeded to check the weight of all of our bags. Then she printed out all the boarding passes for all three legs of our flight. The machine was dreadfully slow. But, we finally got them and headed toward security.
With 25 minutes left, the security line was dreadfully long. At least five complete switchbacks of passengers, all moseying through the slower than usual Saturday checkpoints. I glanced at the clock a time or two. I didn’t really think we would make it, but I still had hope. My sister kept glancing at the clock and panicking. I kept telling her, “we’ll be fine. We’ll get on.”
There was only ten minutes left when we got to the front of the security line. “Final boarding to Denver…” or something like that. We all heard it on the airport loud speaker. “We’ll be all right,” I kept saying. “There’s no way,” my sister kept telling me.
I have been a worrier since childhood! You did not verbalize your worries and anxieties but you were still worried. Not sure holding it in is good for you either!
^^ Something I have found helpful. Simple enough, I think.
Of all days I could have possibly read this on today was perhaps the most appropriate. With many very important deadlines, and a lot of things not going my way it is good to remember that stressing out doesn't help at all. Thanks for the "chillax" pep talk.
I think after 28 years of being the first one to stress out ... I'm finally learning to pick my battles. If I can't control it, then I'm clearly wasting my time. And if I can, I take the, "Okay, start thinking about a backup plan..." approach.
Of course, I still get stupidly impatient when I'm trying to resolve my Verizon bill.
I'm getting better, but I have to admit to being a total worrier when it comes to being on time for things. I detest being late. Even when here are absolutely no bad consequences for being late & maybe some good ones for being so, I still hate it. I'm aware that it isn't even logical anymore: it's just noise left over from childhood that I haven't been able to clear out yet. I'm working on it..
When I am in a hurry to get somewhere, I ALWAYS seem to get blocked in by the slowest cars on the road, or end up in the shortest lane at the grocery store (but the one where every single order has some kind of issue). It never fails. But, I have learned that stressing about the situation is never going to make it better, it just raises my blood pressure, and my anxiety level - which I have problems with anyways. So, I turn on some pre-programed tunes, or plug in a soothing (or upbeat - who can NOT feel better listening to ABBA?) CD, and take several deep breaths and feel the tension drain out of me. I can't change things, and anything I could do would only make matters worse, if not for me, than for an unsuspecting "other"... but I CAN change my reactions to these things and therefore have a measure of control over things.
I do stress terribly, but I try to keep it to myself at least, because my husband is a big enough stresser on his own without me helping. We have a fun dynamic where his stressing makes me feel stressed, and my stressing stresses him, so one of us (me) has to be the calm-on-the-outside person so we don't drive off a cliff or something. Sometimes it works. My three year old is great at knowing when we are stressed and then doing what he can to add to it. Throwing the groceries out of the cart is a favorite of his. We all come home from the grocery store with combat fatigue, but on a good day I don't blow a gasket in front of other shoppers.
I also often do this really great thing where I think I'm fine and coping really well, but in reality I have no fingernails left, I'm living on Twizzlers and Coke, and I've been twisting my hair so much it stands out straight from my head. I'm that crazed looking person in a dirty shirt and maybe matching shoes, pushing a stroller full of peanut butter-haired, half naked toddler who smiles and says "Oh I'm fine, thanks! How are you?"
A very wise man, Van Wilder, once said "Worrying is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere." ;)
Not as bad as I used to. I try very hard now after going through the worst possible times of my entire life a few years ago to play out my fear. I name the fear and think out every possible scenario (even the good ones) and then CHOOSE to let it go and see what happens. It, whatever it is, is going to happen whether I'm stressed or not, but if I can remain calm I might have a bunch more better ways to deal with IT than I would if I was hysterical. I still hate it when people tell me to calm down if I am hysterical, but I really try hard to just go with the flow more. What's the worst that could happen right?
man, i've missed your posts. for some reason. my fb didn't seem to hook up to the new format. don't know why and honestly, it could have been operator error on my part but whatever.....i'm just so glad to have found you again. i've said this before and will say it again......you have an awesome, unique gift that enables you to write on issues serious and silly, deep and wide, with humor and humility. i love reading your posts and share them all the time. don't ever stop writing.
as for the subject at hand....let's just say i suspect there are some nasty notes written on my account at verizon fios customer support. but seeing as they left me on hold for 2 hours (no kidding) and nearly bored me straight to the death with a constant stream of elevator music...and then said i'd have to wait 2 STINKIN' days for help......well, even i cut myself some slack for losing it with them at that point. even so, because i'm excellent at feeling guilty over crap, i actually called back, tracked down the innocent chick i'd lost my cool with, and apologized. to tell you the truth, i think that freaked her out more than anything!
I used to spend my entire shift at work in a panic-and it is a huge plant that supplied parts to Honda. I mean I was spending over fifty dollars in caffeinated beverages so that I was wired with enough energy to handle everything. Then the person on another shift that did my job was out for a few weeks, and I had to work twelve hours a day, and the remaining person was no help AT ALL. I stopped one night to take a look at my schedule and ended up falling asleep. I was fired the next week, and have been serenely happy ever since.
In those kinds of situations my stress levels are usually the opposite of those around me. If they're stressed out, I'll be zen; if they're relaxed I'll be the one stressing out. I think it's because if the people I'm with are chilled out about whatever 'it' is, then someone has to take it seriously and I'm compelled for it to be me. However if those I'm with are stressing out I'll be compelled to be a beacon of calm and peace for them. Whatever the situation is and whether it deserves stressing about or not doesn't really come into consideration, for some reason.
I learned this lesson about a year ago...WOW, what a difference it has made in my life...yes, I still have my "GET YOUR DAMN SHOES ON NOW OR WE'LL BE LATE FOR (insert activity here)." But I have less of them, and not only are my kids happier, I am happier!!
At this point in my life, I've come to realize that despite my OCD control-freak tendencies, there are too many things that are way out of the realm of my control ... unfortunately. Mostly I try to deal with it a lot like you did, just ride it out and go with it. Either it's going to happen or it's not, but ulcers or grey hairs or a tension headache or high blood pressure or a stroke or all of the above are not going to sway the outcome that the universe has decided on for me to deal with. So, as you put it, chillax and enjoy the ride. :)
A man in my yoga class once said "why stress about something that is out of your control...let it go". I think about that when I get into a situation that is out of my control. Learn from every opportunity.
I love this. I'm always telling my daughter to calm down and have patience while I'm secretly wanting to explode. I have had a "few" outbursts.lol
Thanks, Dan. I get plenty of opportunities to experience the late family phenomenon. I sometimes come close to handling it as well as you did, but am much more prone to the "freaking out, whining, stressing, "why do we have to be late for EVERYTHING?" behaviour you so eloquently describe. At 50, I'm determined to prove to my teenagers that you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks. At this point they remain mostly unconvinced, but there is a glimmer of hope. Funny thing is, I'm pretty good at talking other people off the ledge when they start to go ballistic. Love your blog, it's a daily must read for me.
Equalizers. That's the kind if balance that's needed in all relationships, especially within families.
I very rarely stress about things that are beyond my control...nor do I stress about things that are within my control! I just do what I can do, and life sorts out the rest...
I think it is this quality that made me such a great Social Worker.
However, it drives most of the people in my life absolutely bananas because they walk around wrapped up so tightly and unable to truly enjoy life...and they find things about MY LIFE that they feel I should be super-stressed about; and then get upset with ME when I don't join them on their paths to high blood pressure, early baldness, stroke and heart attack! It's true what they say about misery loving company...no one likes to be stressed alone!
On our honeymoon in June, our first flight(to Dallas) was delayed and the second flight was no where near where we landing. My cute husband, John, was having a cow the entire last 20 minutes of our flight. I was having a cow because I had to pee and it looked doubtful that he was going to let me before the flight from Dallas to Mexico. However. I put my foot down and said if you expect me to run around this stupid airport I am going to have to pee FIRST. So he let me. We raced to our next terminal to find out that plane was delayed too :) His mood instantly changed to happy boy and he found us some breakfast. Our flight home from mexico was so stupid it was funny. We made it to Dallas just fine, then the plane was delayed because our flight attendants were coming from another flight that was running behind. That didn't really phase us. We were tired, so sitting around was just fine. They started boarding us around 920 or so (again we have no idea what time..) and we get all settled in the plane. 30 minutes later (or more) they get on the intercom saying there is a mechanical problem, and they were working on it. 15 minutes after that, they tell us there is a leak in the left wing fuel line and our plane is out of commission. We were told to gather our things and head back to the airport. We all sit in our area and they tell us they are working on getting another plane for us.A half hour or so later they send us to a different gate with a new plane. We get down there and sit and wait. We called parents to let them know what was going on and John's dad said he would drop John's car off at the SLC airport for us. We settle back in and they announce that our pilot can't fly anymore. His hours had expired. The next pilot coming in was due "any minute" from Chicago. John walks over to an arrival board and sees that the Chicago flight wasn't due til after midnight. I text my supervisor and let her know that we were stuck in Dallas and I wouldn't make it to work the next day. Ten minutes later we see our flight crew leave. Their time had expired as well. great. The airport was empty and all the shops were closed so I leaned on John hoping for a nap, but those chairs are not comfortable. The Chicago crew finally makes their way to us and we board a little after 1 am. We start taxiing out to the runway and John falls asleep. Stupid. I couldn't sleep, it was too freaking cold.We finally get in the air. When we were getting close to Salt Lake, I look out my window and see a huge wild fire. I woke John up so he could see it too. It was amazing. We land in Salt Lake and just sit at the gate for 10 or more minutes. Everyone is getting antsy and anxious to get off the plane. They finally let us off. It is about 3 am now. We walk to the luggage area and wait for our baggage. Not quite half of the luggage starts going around the carousel thing and it BREAKS. An alarm goes off to alert someone to our issue, but since it was so late we didn't see many people rushing to our aid. John is mad. I just start laughing. What else could possibly happen. A guy comes and gets it all fixed. We get our two bags and leave. We drive out to the cash only line, had her our ticket and she says it will be 19 bucks. I start laughing again. The car had been there for 6 hours or less, but it went past midnight and it is no overnight parking.
What is wogging? Lol. And I almost always stress when I fly. I'm already dreading our next flight in a few months, but mostly because our last flight my one year old spent the entire plane-ride screaming. Luckily everyone on the plane was super nice about it. :) It really helped to have others say that it was fine and not to feel bad about it.
I vary, like most people do. Usually, I stress about anything that is my fault or I feel I could/should control (ie "you idiot, you better come up with a Plan B right now to resolve the problem you came up with by leaving too late"), I do get stressed. I also hate being late (or being early, I won't ever do that). There have been times in my life, when I was really happy, that I even enjoyed the stress though and the risk of being late for a plane and running through the airport was more fun than being early! Not there right now. Still, if something is out of my control (plane is leaving late, weather is bad for party, sick kid, whatever), I still try to formulate that Plan B (because leaving a late plane for a connection with a plan is way better than leaving one without a plan), but I can take it in stride and usually with good humour. And I always have a book. And it's way easier when I'm by myself than when we'll be 4 hours waiting and I've got a grumpy 7, 5, and 3 year old with me to entertain (though I'm usually well-prepared, nobody is that prepared!)
My biggest issue is not showing up on time when I tell someone I will be there at this specific time. The problem is not me though. I am 99% of the time ready to go an hour before I plan on leaving, that way I can go anytime and even get places early. I prefer to be everywhere early, so no one worries about me. My man on the other hand, and my mother....the two of them are two peas in a pod. When mom says "I will be there at 10, I don't even start to worry about her until noon. When my man says a time, he is usually an hour late. My dad however, if he says he will be there at 10, he shows up at 9:55 . So if he is not on time, I worry immediately. So, unlike your sister and other family, I would have been outside with my bags waiting on you guys to show up! So, when my man or my mother make me late, I tend to get snippy and irritated, cause I know they know what time we need to leave and they just don't care. Where as when I say I will be there at 10, I will be there anywhere from 9 to 950. So if I'm late, someone better start worrying, unless they know my man or my mother are coming with me.
I worry about everything under the sun! And things out of control stress me out like crazy. I'm a person who likes a plan...the plan gets out of whack and I flip out. Traveling is the worst for me. But luckily my husband is calm and collected. He puts up with me and helps settle me down again =)