I just got back home after a pretty long day of travel. It isn’t unusual for me to do some heavy thinking while up in the air. It seems that it’s only during that time that I allow my mind to rest long enough to do so. When I’m on the ground, I’m typically running around in circles – trying to make a buck, trying to make dinner, trying to make everyone else happy, trying to wear as many hats as humanly possible…
trying to run myself straight into the ground.
But when I fly, I give myself permission to relax. I NEVER EVER work when I travel. It is a hard fast rule and I never break it. My body will not allow it. I NEVER have downtime during the day, but up in the sky, that’s time that I consider my own. I don’t have to worry about anyone else but me. And so, I do as I please – watch as many movies as I like and don’t care how many hours I waste doing so.
During this trip home from Florida, I was exhausted. I had a pretty early AM wake up call and arrived at the airport before 6AM. I didn’t have it in me to start to indulge in some supernatural tale. And so – I sat and people watched. My favorite pastime!! Two older women were right in front of me. So, they were as good as any target. I sat back into my seat, closed my eyes, and just listened in on their conversation. I was too close to watch. I didn’t want to be obvious – but I was curious. And so, I tried to be nosy without looking the part.
And their conversation was lovely. How to baste a chicken. Something about a neighbor and their grass maintenance. An old joke they shared about laundry. Complaints about their husbands. These two were certainly old friends. Their stories were calming and familiar. Their words were woven with history and love. It was all very simple and uncomplicated and if I am being honest with you, I craved their life.
A simple life.
A beautiful life.
A well-lived life.
I have a beautiful life – don’t get me wrong. I have a well-lived life. Don’t get it twisted. But I do not have a simple life. My life is a tornado. My life on Instagram is a rocket ship, but it comes with a price. I am always exhausted. I am always jetting off to someplace because of someone. I am always feeling like I need to do more because that’s what the industry expects of me.
And in that instance, as I listened in on a simple conversation, I recognized that it was my choice to continue or to not continue to live a chaotic life.
A tornado is powerful. It is a force. It makes people stop and watch. But it destroys everything it touches.
I love too many people to risk destroying anything.
This isn’t the first time that a trip away brought clarity to me. This won’t be the last. I suddenly became very mindfully aware that I can choose to mold my days anyway that I’d like. And if I don’t feel like doing something anymore, then I’m just not going to accept it. I am not here for anyone but my children and my husband… and myself. I am 100% replaceable. I am not special. The world will not collapse if I don’t take a gig and my family will manage if I say no a few times a week. We will just need to adjust the way we spend. Better yet, we should start living that way anyway.
I became very mindful of the fact that I was in control of my chaos, that I create my chaos, and that I can end my chaos. All from listening to a chicken recipe!! There’s something really magical about a southern drawl. Maybe that’s it. I’m not sure? I almost thanked those women, but I wouldn’t know how to even start that conversation.
Thank you for helping me see that it doesn’t have to be this way. Thank you for giving me my family back. Thank you for reminding me to mindfully live out the rest of my life.
Instead, I just got up, made my way onto the airplane with my daughter and gave them a half grin and a nod. They smiled back and continued on with their conversation without a second thought.
But the entire ride home, I just kept thinking about not thinking about work when I don’t have to. I kept mindfully living in the moment. Mindfully eating when the snack came around. Mindfully turning to my daughter to speak to her about her favorite moments about our time away. Staying present and not getting sucked into work at every given second of my life – that is my promise to myself.
Anyway, I’m home now and I wanted to write this quick note for you all in case you needed this little reminder yourself. We don’t have to bury ourselves in work 24 hours a day. I need to work to live. I need to continue to hustle – I’m no fool. But when I clock out for the day, I am going to mindfully pull away from it all and turn to my family with all of my heart. Plug into the real reality that is my ACTUAL life and treat it like I do when I am flying on an airplane. Unplugged and refusing to do anything for any gig. It’s MY TIME and I own it. The chaos can wait. My kids cannot.