“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu
I am writing this as I sit in Tampa International Airport, trying to catch a flight back home to New York. This is Day #2. Yes, you read right. I was here yesterday, which was my original return flight date. I ended up spending 10 hours at the airport. My flight was canceled due to mechanical problems and the flights after that were delayed hours due to weather in the Northeast. I went from being on a 10:15am flight to a 5:30pm flight, which got delayed to 8pm. After that, I decided to stay the night and try again tomorrow. So here I am.
Going through this experience really tested my patience. And it made me see that I am a patient person. I always thought I was impatient but now I see that really it was just me having moments of impatience. Overall I am a patient person. I think that my patience comes from the positive mindset I always set out to have. It’s something I work on daily. Sometimes it is not easy but as I keep trying on a daily basis, it becomes easier because it becomes a habit. That’s what growth in life is all about.
One of my recent life goals has been to worry less and accept more. That is my mantra, which I repeat to myself when I am in situations such as this one at the airport. I think that goes hand in hand with patience. When you worry less and accept more, you are building your patience. That’s growth in a nutshell. Just as we strive to build relationships with people, we have to build one with ourselves. One of the ways to build that relationship with yourself is to make better choices when handling tough situations.
When we worry about something, it affects our mood and our mindset. And I kept telling myself as I watched people get angry and yell at the gate agents, “Why get angry? It will not change the fact that the flight is delayed.” It takes so much energy to be angry, frustrated, and worrisome. I made the choice to not get angry over something beyond my control. Instead, I was patient. I didn’t worry. I had to wait it out and see what happens. It’s all any of us can do, when you think of it. As my dad used to always say, “It is what it is.” My father was a big believer in accepting things and people as they are and not dwelling on the disappointments and setbacks. You learn the lesson and then keep moving. Moving forward…
Sometimes all it takes is taking a moment, being still and putting things in perspective. Once you do that, it is so much easier to accept the situation and not freak out. For me, it helps to breathe and do some sort of meditation. Some people laugh at me when I say that but real talk, it works. Our minds can become so cluttered with everything going on around us. Sometimes it pays to be still and just clear your mind so you can see things clearer.
Now when I say “meditation”, I don’t mean that I got on the floor right there in the middle of the airport, sat cross-legged and started humming. I just sat in a corner and focused on my breathing. I took deep breaths and relaxed myself. Then I thought about my situation and the options. I then said to myself, “It is what it is. I can wait or I can go and try again tomorrow.” I ended up waiting all day but then coming back the next day.
My flight today was scheduled to depart at 10:15am but is now delayed until 10:40am. I’m calm, smiling and in good spirits. If I can’t get on a flight today, it’s okay. Everything happens for a reason. Who knew I could experience growth from sitting in an airport? I sure didn’t. I am pretty proud of myself.
Special note: My flight ended up departing at 10:45am and I am home! After an exhausting two days, I am happy to be home. But I don’t regret what happened because I passed another test on my patience with flying colors. Remember, you always have a choice, down to how you view a situation. You can look at it with a positive perspective or you can look at it negatively. The choice is yours and the right one will change your life for the better.
The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen. ~ Ralph Marston