I spend a lot of time travelling, especially with my new job. I’ve flown I don’t know how many times in the last few months, plus several times a year since I was born, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make travelling smoother. I want to be able to breeze through security. I want to glide onto the airplane with effortless grace, and place my carry-on in the overhead containers like a pro. For the record, this almost never happens.
With the exception of one day two weeks ago. I had a business trip to Toronto where I was going to be spending my time with all my new colleagues, my manager, his manager, and the head of our organization. To say I was slightly nervous would be an understatement. To my surprise, my trip down went incredibly smoothly. My bag was perfectly packed, I didn’t hit anyone with my carry on, and I was wearing cute, business-y clothes.
Lets contrast that day with my return trip, where I:
-spilled coffee all over myself in the taxi
-couldn’t find my wallet or ID as I was checking in for my flight
-dropped my L.L. Bean roller duffle I don’t know how many times by trying to lean it up against things even though I know it doesn't stand up on its own.
-Left my Swiss Army Knife in my purse, which of course, security found.
-Started crying at the check-in counter when they told me it would be an extra $100 to check my purse as an extra bag.
Yup. Real tears. Which would make it the second time in less than a month that I have cried at an airport. (the other time was the result of a snowstorm, toronto traffic, and a 7-hour delay)
When I gave myself a minute, I could see there were a million reasons why the morning hadn’t gone smoothly. It was an early flight, at an airport I’d never flown from before. I was up late the night before with one of my stakeholders. It had been a good but stressful week-and-a-half of living out of a suitcase and I had spent it trying to present my best, most grown-up self. It totally made sense that I wasn’t on my A-game. But that didn’t stop my inner monologue from turning completely negative: What is wrong with you how many times have you flown you look like you’ve never even seen an airport this is so embarrassing are you twelve years old.
I think what sucks the most about it is that I was feeling so good earlier in the week. I’d bonded with my coworkers, learned a lot about my job, got to see why everyone speaks so highly of my manager, and just generally felt mature. Like I could hold my own and not only look but also sound and feel professional, too. A lot of times, 25 feels like “two steps forward, one step back”, at least when it comes to my self-confidence. But then I remember that growing up isn’t a video game with a series of levels that lock once you reach them. Just because I get a high score this week in “using industry jargon” or “rocking a blazer like a champ” doesn’t mean I can’t fall back a few levels in "beverage consumption" or "basic emotional stability".
Is it just me, or does anyone else ever feel like there should just be some things that get easier as we get older? (like air travel)