The Airport Waiting Game

As I write this, I’m sitting in Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport waiting for a flight that’s three hours later than the one I was originally scheduled for.

I arrived to my original flight’s gate at 10:00 and checked the departures gate at 10:30 to make sure we were still on time since they hadn’t given any announcements.

As I read the screen, I saw “CANCELLED” in large red letters next to my flight.

Are you kidding me?

We’re supposed to start boarding in 10 minutes, and not a single airport staffer has even notified any passengers that the flight is cancelled? I got in line at the ticket counter and rattled off expletives in my head.

20 minutes and one latte later, I couldn’t help but think what am I supposed to do for 4 more hours?! This is unacceptable that this is happening. I am going to be so bored.

not. pleased.
not. pleased.

And that’s where I realized just how ridiculous my thoughts were. I was framing myself as a victim in this all too common situation.

Yes, of course it’s annoying as all hell that my flight was cancelled (especially since the reason was for unscheduled maintenance work – ummmm, that doesn’t sound good!). But I immediately let myself play the role of victim – in my own life. Not cool, Jenny. Not cool.

We live in this age of immediate gratification and entitlement. And when it’s not met, we believe that the situation is happening only to us.

I’m not going to lie – I can’t stand people that think every little thing that happens in the world is a direct stab at them. Newsflash: it’s not.

So when I began to feel that way this morning, I immediately flipped the switch in my mind and thought of all the extra time I would have to myself. Even though that “me” time might be in an airport terminal, it’s still time I can dedicate just to myself today.

It was also a good time to reflect that I shouldn’t feel entitled and that, even though we live in a such an instantly connected world, I shouldn’t expect immediacy anywhere. Things happen and it’s ok to slow down sometimes.

In hindsight, my flight is still cancelled and that sucks, but I’m glad I wasn’t on a malfunctioning plane. Was my reaction expected for the situation? Of course. But I didn’t want to play the role of the victim in my own life’s story.

I’m a superhero, baby.