Our trip home from Mexico did not go as planned. After going through security and waiting in the food court for a couple hours, we finally boarded our plane, excited to be back in San Diego and in our own bed again.
Moments after we found our seats, a family with a screaming, crying, sneezing, and coughing toddler sat directly in front of us. And there we sat, for almost two hours, as the flight crew tended to a technical problem and paced back and forth throughout the cabin.
As this unfolded, the germaphobe in me cringed, and the planner in me started mentally rearranging my schedule. But as I watched these thoughts, I realized I had choices:
- I could choose to worry about catching a cold from all the sneezing in front of me.
- I could choose to be annoyed at the constant screaming.
- I could choose to be antsy about whatever technical problem was present and whether or not our flight was doomed. (This one was really tempting!)
Or...I could choose to let all of those thoughts go, relax a bit, cuddle a little closer to my love, finish my book, and move into full acceptance of the situation – regardless of how it might unfold.
when worry puts up a fight
At first, I noticed myself teetering back and forth, lingering between both options. It can be so tempting to indulge in worry. Yet when has worry ever helped anyone or any situation? It hasn't. Worry fronts like it's helpful, but at the end of the day, it's just wasted energy.
I know this, and I still had to remind myself several times that I can't change things that are outside of my control, and trying to do so only makes me more miserable. The only thing I can truly control is my own mind.
So before I let myself experience full-on anxiety, fear, and frustration, I made a conscious effort not to – and saved myself from an even worse experience.
Ultimately we had to de-board the plane, go back through customs, reclaim our bag, wait in a long line at the ticket counter, rebook a new flight with a layover, and stay an extra night in Mexico.
Instead of feeling like all of this was a big pain in the butt (like I might've in the past), I saw it as neutral. This is what was happening, so how was I going to choose to interpret it? What would make me feel the best about this situation?
gratitude saves the day
I watched my thoughts closely, and then I made a conscious choice to let go of any disappointment of not getting home as planned, instead focusing on thoughts that didn't make me feel crappy.
I chose to be grateful for...
- our safety and the technicians who realized there was a problem with the plane before we took off
- the best clients in the world, who understand the need for last minute schedule changes
- Will's boss, who is incredible and reacted kindly to his schedule change as well
- another night in tropical paradise
- exploring a new, beautiful hotel
- a partner who can roll with the punches and embrace spontaneous adventures with me
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Clearly, we weren't meant to go home. So we decided to surrender our plans and roll with it, and what unfolded was simply amazing...
We had one of the best nights of our entire trip!
A few highlights:
- an unreal sunset (pictured above!) as we walked along the beach. The sand feeling so good on our feet after hours of being at the airport, and the warm water brushing up against our toes. So relaxing.
- the kindest staff we encountered on our whole trip – genuinely warm and lovable people, whose energy was contagious
- the most delicious dinner yet (we split seafood linguine with shrimp and scallops, and the fresh catch of the day – Puerto Vallarta has incredible seafood!)
- a champagne toast on the house to celebrate our upcoming nuptials
- perhaps my favorite moment of all – seeing a wedding reception on the beach that gave me an in-person glimpse into what ours will be like – which made me more excited than anything else to date!
you've got the power
You have dominion over your life experience.
No matter what happens, you can choose to resist it or roll with it.
Managing your thoughts takes practice, but it's one of the most life-changing skills you will ever learn.
It gives you the superpower of feeling however you want in any situation. And who doesn't want that?!
try it out
Here are 5 simple steps to follow whenever things don't go as planned:
1) Notice and catch your thoughts ASAP
2) Ask yourself how'd like to feel about the situation (i.e. relaxed)
3) Find new thoughts that generate this feeling (i.e. everything is fine). Decide you will choose these thoughts over your initial ones.
4) Write out your new thoughts to keep reinforcing them. Act as if you believe them (i.e. if everything is fine, I can keep reading my book in peace).
5) Watch, wide-eyed, as you turn lemons into lemonade (i.e. enjoying myself no matter what happens vs. stewing in worry)
To making the most of (all of) it,