It is the dream job that can take you to places you have never been. When I was younger, I use to be scared of airplanes and as I become older, I embraced them…..then I fell in love with them. The smell of jet fuel, the roar of the engines, putting on the uniform and walking through the airport while everyone looked at you. It was so appealing, it was my mission….to be a flight attendant. I use to sit at the observation deck and make up these stories of where I would go, what I would see, what I would do once I arrived at my destination. Jealousy would overcome me when I seen those planes taking off and I wasn’t on one of them. Some people would tell me that I just wanted to escape life…that I needed to be home raising my kids. How wrong they were!! I wanted to give my kids the world!!! To have the opportunities to travel and see all the beauty of what God gave us. When I took my first travels outside of the United States, it become a very big itch for me to make my way into the airline industry. I was going to make it happen and nothing would stand in my way. Oh yeah, if you don’t know me too well, try telling me I cant do something…hahaha. I may not succeed the first time but I don’t give up. I am a fighter to the end so anyway… from there, my journey to seek out my mission of becoming a flight attendant had begun.
For those of you that do not know, let me sum it up for you when you go to apply for an airline. It can take you up to one year to get an answer with a mainline. Sometimes, you wonder if they forgot you or did they just not even see your information. I had been applying for at least a year with applications and resumes submitted to sixteen different airlines. I even went so far as to apply overseas and work for a British based airline. I was willing to move to London! Hey, I had ambition…you cant blame me! I was going for it! Regionals are a little quicker though. They like to do open houses and as in the case with my company, I was hired within four weeks. That was the longest four weeks of my life…waiting for each process to be complete. Background checks, references and the list goes on. When I got the call to go to training, it was music to my ears! I had just landed at JFK on a trip back from Amsterdam…what a great welcome home! I could not even find the words to express how excited I was to be chosen for this career. It is hard to get through the countless applications, to know that they found you, out of all the THOUSANDS who apply, to be the best fit for their company. Only a few are chosen at a time. It really is an honor!!
Fast forward to training. It was hard work, long hours, a lot of test, drills and not much sleep. Some of you know I went through training twice. The first time I fell ill and had to be in the hospital, then went home to have surgery and then come back for round two and what a sweet, sweet time that was! No words will ever express the happiness that I had when I went back to training, the determination I had in me and the passion that was alive. The day I earned my wings, it was one of the most amazing days of my life! I felt like for the first time in my life, I had really accomplished something on my own…something that meant a lot to me, something that meant a lot to my kids…my biggest fans!!! After twenty-three years of being a hairstylist, raising kids on my own and what seemed like fighting a thousand little wars that I had to chose between, it was just more than I had ever imagined. I got my uniform, my luggage, my base assignment and I had it all planned out! What could possibly go wrong? I had it all in the basket (sort of) and I was going to travel all the time, going to exotic places, fun places and doing, seeing who knows what. It was perfect!
Here I am four months later and I have had a huge reality check about not only my career, but about myself. Those are the hardest ones. You see, my new career went nothing like I thought it would as I started out. I had set my expectations so high that I was not prepared for the reality of the lifestyle….I would not allow myself to breathe. Knowing that I am a Christian, that I turn to my Heavenly Father in my time of need, I see now that I was turning to Him but I wasn’t letting Him have my concerns, my fears, my worries and my doubts. It is like cleaning out a closet and we all know how we dread that! You have all your stuff you want to get rid of or to organize all nice and tidy, but then you get some crazy idea that maybe you need to hold on to it for a bit longer or you don’t know where to put it. Then you set it aside, push it back in the closet and before you know it…you have added more stuff on top of that. It becomes a little cycle and before you know it, you have lost yourself in what was once such a crazy-ridiculous euphoria from the start. Is it still there? Of course it is but just like the closet, it gets pushed to the bottom and covered up by other ‘stuff’.
For me, the other stuff was all wrapped up in this job. You see, once you come out of training, you are pretty much on your own. Every single flight attendant is on reserve when you come from training. Having a line is your goal. This can take a long time…sometimes years. I could never begin to explain to you how that works. You just have to trust me. There are a lot of realities about this career that I did not expect to experience. You are away from your family A LOT, you miss important events at home, no more normal sleep patterns, no consistent schedule. Paychecks can be low due to company deductions such as insurance, luggage, enrollment fees, etc. and commuting can be insane sometimes. Was I crushed? In some sense, yes….yes I was. It slowly started to consume the funny, fun loving, always carefree, positive, free- spirited person that I am. Many times I wondered had I made the right choice but when I would help a passenger then I was like ‘yeah, I made the right choice but…..’. What kind of mindset is that??? It also started to have me doubting what I know to be the truth…and that is trusting my Savior.
So what do you do when this happens? You get on your knees, you pray and you clean out your closet. Sometimes you need to clean out the closet every week! That is okay because at least you know what you have to do. Just get in there, throw it all out there….until you have nothing left. Write it down on paper if you have to, then burn it if you need to as well. By the way, thanks to the dude outside in the smoking area of the hotel who let me burn mine in the large cigarette container. I have been in a hotel for three days now. I am on reserve for six days. The last three days of this schedule, I have a trip with two overnights. It would have been easy to sit here and be depressed, be whiney and find fault with things but you know, there is nothing sexy or confident about that. I turned to my Savior and I asked for guidance. I told Him that I obviously have no idea what the heck I am doing, that I have been such a sour puss and I really need Him to just make me stop being that way. The next day, He provided me with a new base that my company is placing me in. I was able to find a crash pad within the first two hours of being notified I was changing bases!! No more hotel stays (unless its for leisure or the company pays for it) and I also get more time off to spend with those I love. He also put things and people in my way that made me go back to what my passion for this career felt like when I was applying for the position of being a flight attendant. You see, it never left my soul….and deep in my soul is where this passion lives inside of me. I can never begin to explain to you how much I LOVE to fly. If I could touch you and make you feel what I feel for this career, then maybe you would understand but its something you have to try on for yourself. I am often reminded of the quote from Soul Surfer, “I don’t need easy, I just need possible”. My possible is my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that I can turn to Him in my time of need and while it’s not easy sometimes, it is possible. You just have to have faith and then you have to believe.
Tomorrow morning I will put on my uniform with pride, style my hair, apply my makeup perfectly and I will head over to the airport. I will board the aircraft, meet my crew and then greet my passengers with a genuine smile on my face but a bigger smile in my heart. I wear a ring that was given to me from a man whom I love very much and whom I know has been one of the greatest blessing in my life because he truly helps me grow. It has the initials on it ‘CTR’ and it stands for Choose The Right. It is from a hymnal of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first verse of the lyrics read like this “Choose the right when a choice is placed before you. In the right the Holy Spirit guides…And its light is forever shining o’er you. When in the right your heart confides.” I know the ring is there…It has never come off not one day since it was placed on my finger. Just this week, when I was going through this dark place, this hard place of decisions and so forth, I noticed something about the ring on my finger. It was tight. That had never happened before. My fingers were swollen and I was being annoyed by it. Even still, I did not remove the ring but what I did do is take a harder look and I mean a lot harder look at the initials on my ring as I kept playing with it, twisting it on my finger. Then I decided to study more on what it means. Yeah, I had studied it before but not like I did yesterday. I listened to a talk on CTR. I believe in my heart that this was Gods way of getting my attention, by having my hands swell and making me pay attention to my ring…. to turn to something that would teach me about what are the choices I have in my life. What are the choices that He wants for me? We live in a world where we have a choice between good and evil, happiness and sadness, victory and defeat. I choose to be happy, I choose to be a positive light unto others, I choose to be of service to others so that it is pleasing to my Heavenly Father, I choose to be the one who strengthens my family….I choose the right. There is no other way because in the end, the reward is an eternal peace and happiness.
What will you choose when you are faced with doing what is right, doing what is pleasing in God’s eyes? God does not want us to be sad. He wants us to be happy, to find that happiness in His word, in His comforting arms and then He wants us to go and share that happiness with others. Try it…I encourage you to do so. No, I actually dare you to try it 😉 You don’t have to be Mormon to understand one thing about Choosing The Right or to live by it. It is the biblical principal of choosing to do what is right in Gods eyes that we all should live by. I am very proud to be Mormon, to belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints and to be able to share my testimony with you. I hope you choose the right!
Love, Hugs & Smiles 🙂