Over the years I have traveled a lot for work. Not as much as others, but more than most. I am well versed in managing hotel rooms (away from the elevator and ice machine, but not too far down the hall), eating meals alone (magazines are easier to read while eating than books) and which seat is the best on any given type of airplane (if possible, always go for the front of the plane). I have the security line down to a science and know what coffee shop is nearest to my gate at Dulles just by looking at my ticket.
BUT, between you and me, after hundreds of flights, I rarely listen to the pre-flight announcements (SORRY FAA)… I typically read or zone out at the window. Over the past year, one line has started to stand out to me during the pre-flight check.
And it is very important. To flying and to life.
Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.
As someone who loves to own other people’s feelings for them, it is an incredibly challenging lesson for me to adhere to on a daily basis. And one that it has taken me years to truly understand.
It is also why I had to take a break from writing.
Last July I took on a dream job with an organization I truly loved. Over twelve months the travel and the senior level responsibility and the commitment when I was home to be HERE for M – running became the only place that I felt like I could 100% be myself and let go. Three days a week – it was me (and often my friends) and the pavement. It was a sanctuary away from working mom life. And when my miles were done, I had nothing left to say to anyone about anything. Just enough energy to get on with managing my world.
This spring, I admitted that my life wasn’t working. I was stressed and tired and irritable and feeling like I had been hit by a truck every morning. Slowly I realized that work requiring a good amount of travel was not something I could balance today.
And I stepped away from the dream job with the fancy title at the huge organization. It broke my heart and made me feel like a failure.
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to join the firm of a wonderful mentor and move on to equally interesting work. As the weeks have passed and the transition into my new role is complete, I have made room in my life again.
For my family.
For time with friends.
For self growth.
And with that… writing has come back. I found I have things to share and ideas to pass along to those who wish to read them.
I have regained my equilibrium. And my oxygen. One breath at at time.