Early on this Monday morning, I missed my flight from San Francisco back to LA. Thinking my flight was at 8am, I set my alarm for 5:10am to give myself time to shake out the kinks, walk to Bart from where I was staying, and make it to the airport by 7. I had already checked in online and I had no baggage to check so an hour seemed like ample time to make it through security. Everything went as planned. In fact, things went better. I left my friend Adria’s house at 5:30 instead of 5:45 like I’d planned. I thought I might as well give myself that leeway. I sat on the train towards Millbrae, listening to the new Adele album and going over my plan for the day in my head. Though I’m usually off campus on Mondays, I signed up to work extra hours at the writing center since it’ll be closed for the holiday break. I’d planned my flight so that I’d have time to go home, drop off my bags, change, and pack some lunch before heading out for work. As I ran through the details of my day, I thought I’d open the “wallet” app on my phone where I’d uploaded my boarding pass the day before. I opened the app to see a boarding time of 6:30am with a flight departure of 7am. I frowned, thinking that it must be a old pass from earlier this year. I always forget to delete them after trips. I went into my email where I’d flagged my itinerary. Low and behold, my flight was indeed scheduled to leave at 7. I looked at the time, it was 630 and I still hadn’t made it to the San Bruno stop to transfer to the train that would actually take me to the airport. I had to tell myself that there was still a chance. If everything worked seamlessly from this point on, I still had a shot. Right? If the train to SFO came as soon as I got off this one and then went straight to the airport without any delays and then the airport shuttle to the terminals was waiting when the train arrived and my terminal was the first stop and the security line was empty and my gate was right near the security line, I could TOTALLY make it.
I didn’t make it.
I strolled into Terminal 1 at 6:54 after having to wait 8 minutes in between Bart trains and another couple minutes for the airport shuttle before arriving at my terminal, which was the furthest of all of them.
Even at this point, I couldn’t accept defeat. I rushed over to the ticket counter, still thinking that maybe the flight was delayed or maybe I was important enough for them to call and tell them to hold the doors?? Neither of these scenarios played out. I told the representative that I was “currently missing my flight” and he ever-so-kindly put me on standby for the next flight, which was at 9am.
Even as I walked over to security, there was a part of me that thought that maybe the flight was still there and the people at check-in just didn’t know and I would get through security to see that the doors were still open. I just couldn’t quite let it go.
As I walked towards security line I could feel it all dumping down on me. I was frustrated. I wanted to cry. How could I completely fuck up my flight time? It’s so unlike me to make a mistake like that. What’s was wrong with me? All the thoughts came flooding.
I realized how overwhelmed I was becoming and pulled myself over to the side of the walkway. I took a deep breath and I thought about it. What was really going to happen? I got on standby for a flight that was leaving in less than two hours without any hassle and without having to pay more money. The flight is only about an hour. I would get into LA around 10:15 which was enough time for me to get to campus by noon, when I was scheduled to work. Sure I couldn’t go home in between but I only had a relative light carry-on with me so it wasn’t particularly a pain to carry around. The SF airport has free wifi (shout out to the SF airport for holding it down for the team) and I had my laptop and phone along with their chargers with me. I had also brought readings for an upcoming paper that I was planning to start. What was I really so upset about? Sure, it sucks to have missed my flight but of all the scenarios that could have resulted, this one is far from the worst.
With this new perspective, I regrouped and headed for security. I treated myself to a coffee, set myself up at one of the work stations, and wrote a page and a half of my paper (and pinned some holiday recipes!). I made it to campus in time to grab from lunch from Chipotle (another shoutout to Chipotle for coming through in my time of need) and my shift at the writing center flew by.
Sometimes you just have to flow. Instead of being bogged down by what didn’t happen or what should of happened, focus on what is happening and respond accordingly.
As I sit back, having made it through this day, I can’t help but be grateful. Grateful that I got to spend two days in NorCal seeing beautiful people and eating lots of food. Grateful that I made it back from another trip safe and sound. Grateful for my breath and the power that it affords me in difficult circumstances. And grateful not only for my resilience itself, but for the little life trials that remind of its existence and make it harder and harder for me to underestimate my strength.