A grounding experience

Photo by Josef.Stuefer

So yesterday, if all had gone according to plan, I’d have flown to Canada for a conference. Right now those that made it (teams from Australia, Canada and Americe) will be getting up and ready for the day, I’ve spent the morning clearing an email backlog and am about to go and find a cafe to sit in and read a report that is with our designers to give them feedback, before turning the work laptop off for two weeks and concentrating on some me time.

Having had my flight cancelled twice already, at the moment I am scheduled on a flight out of London on Thursday morning that would enable my holiday to go ahead with minimal disruption. Although really I’m not overly optimistic that I’ll be going anywhere.

So where does that leave me. Well to be honest I’m a bit lost! I’m usually quite a resilient person but for the last few days I’ve felt the cracks appearing around the edges. Those of you who know me will know that I’ve had a fairly pressured past six months, I’ve been promoted; been trying to keep a very stretched and very short staffed team together; missed out on my holiday last year in a (definitely misguided) decision to try to do what was best for work; been living my life out of a suitcase and trying to function on far too little sleep! So I really, really needed this holiday – my first in 18mths.

The realist in me knows that it looks like the holiday wont happen. Since Saturday I’ve been looked out for by a few close friends who’ve helped to maintain my sanity, to provide me with accommodation, to supply me with company, food and chocolate brownies. I’m amazed at their generosity but am also feeling unsettled about needing to rely too heavily on it. Thank you to @katiekatetweets @fergusbisset and @niccombe.

So what’s to do? At the moment it’s a case of sitting it out and waiting to see whether Thursday’s flight will leave – for me that would be the best case scenario for a number of reasons. Sitting and waiting is really rather hard though, especially when your fate lies in the hands of nature….don’t worry I’m aware that it always does, we’ve just created a society where that truth is well hidden from us most of the time. The other option would be to be proactive and decide to cancel the holiday – this doesn’t even feel like an option I want to consider but it does have the silver lining of at least letting you feel that you are in control. For now at least the first option wins out, I’ll work this afternoon, take tomorrow and Wednesday off to explore London town (anyone who wants to meet up give me a shout) and hope that the situation changes in time for Thursday and I’ve promised myself not to keep checking the NATS website for updates.

I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve realised with you all:

  • None of this matters! I was musing yesterday about the bigger impact for other people, remembering when Dad was ill and the panic I felt when his consultant went on holiday in case anything happened to him or he didn’t make it back! (Irrational I know) That said, there will be people whose lives are likely to be changed forever in very real ways as a result of this – I know I’m not one of them
  • I am way too hard on myself, I’m constantly trying to be reasonable and keep hold of the fact that none of this matters; but it does matter to me (I know, I know I’m contradicting myself) and getting frustrated and irritated by it is ok in small doses
  • Never, EVER work yourself so hard that you reach a point where you need a holiday to maintain your sanity – because there are no guarantees in life. I was challenged this weekend about whether I needed a holiday to run away/avoid something or to seek/find something. I think the reality is both, either way I know I should have slowed down or stopped before this.
  • So much in life is affected by how much autonomy or control we have over a situation. The problem is that we don’t *really* have much control over lots of things in life and I think the challenge I face is learning to accept things more as they are and not seeking control.

So some parting words of wisdom from the Desiderata:

With all it’s sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful, strive to be happy.

I’m not sure about happy, but accepting will do me 🙂

0 comments on “A grounding experience”

Gordon Rae says:

I really hope you get your holiday. You deserve it, and you need it. I’m experiencing the same loss of control, but from the vantage point of an enforced ten day weekend in SouthWest France. If all goes well, I’ll be flying home on Saturday. So I’m reading your blog from a tiny bar and trying to ignore the live bullfighting on TV (not my thing, really!) I’m glad you’ve got Fergus, Kate and Nic taking care of you, and whatever happens, it is still a beautiful world.

Chris Hall says:

It’s a time of many unknowns with all the disruptions going on across Europe. All you can do is try keep smiling, and I always love the Lance Armstrong mantra – livestrong!

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