Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Thoughts From A Day Off

A little standard I-haven’t-posted-in-a-while note… It’s nearly been 8 months since I’ve last shared some writing, but I’ve found myself busy with flights, going out, meeting new people, trying new things and simply enjoying life in Dubai. I wrote this post around early September last year and couldn’t really find the motivation to move forward and have it go public. I’ve stumbled back on it, reread it, and still feel the exact way. I promise myself to get back into writing so hopefully, all fingers crossed, you and I both will have something to look forward to.

I feel a headache coming through. I feel like I had worked a full day in a pressure controlled cabin, high up in the sky, catering to over a hundred passengers and landing late at night, early in the morning, past my bed time, whichever describes that fine line between sunset and sunrise. I feel like I rolled my luggage into my room, half asleep, half awake, half still in Colombo but physically in Dubai. I feel like I’ve stayed asleep until half 2 in the afternoon, only getting up once to make a cup of coffee and instantly returning back to my fortress of blankets. I feel like the only exercise I’ve done is scrolling through my phone and messaging a hundred words a second from the office I call my bed.

I feel all this because… Well, this is my current state. To simplify this paragraph, I can summarize it all into a single word – exhaustion.

To everyone else the life of a flight attendant is full of glamour, cat walking through the airport, our red lipstick on point, our hair slicked back and our scarf flowing delicately against the wind. We are seen pushing trolleys up and down the aisle, serving food, and balancing drinks on our magical silver trays. But the real challenge here is balancing our inner emotions with that smile you see on our face. It’s not easy.

It’s not easy flying from one time zone to another. It’s not easy waking up at 5 in the morning for a flight and then waking up at 5 pm for yet another. It’s not easy serving food and having to worry about the safety of the passengers and any medical situation that can arise at any moment of any flight at any time. It’s not easy working with different colleagues day in and day out, becoming temporary friends, disembarking and acting like you didn’t just spend the layover and the last 8 hours of the flight together. It’s not easy because the life of a flight attendant is far from normal.

Prior to joining, I was just like everyone else. I thought flight attendants had such a wicked job. They looked so flawless in the cabin and saw the world one flight at a time. Then once my rosters and hours started rolling in, I began losing motivation and positivity. I enjoyed my days in Dubai because on those measly days off, my life felt just a little bit normal again.

But, with every job come ups and downs. And with every job, you’ll always find something you will dislike. And with every person there’s a different level of tolerance of how much one can actually handle. I may have just listed and moaned about all the negatives of this line of work but, I truly cannot disregard the positives. Because… The positives are quite amazing.

In my last few months of flying, I’ve had the opportunity to spend (on average) a day all over the world. I’ve touch down on two new continents, visited well over a dozen new cities and rekindled my love for old ones. I’ve tried food I never thought twice of eating and met the most interesting people. I’ve experienced a UNESCO World Heritage site and cuddled with new animals. With all the downsides a job may come with, seeing it from the other side, where the grass is obviously greener, all my previous complaints sound petty.

Johannesburg, Brisbane, Beijing, Colombo, Aukland

And that is exactly how I’m coping and balancing my inner, much more true opinions and emotions with the very smile I put on my face each flight. It’s tough, exhausting, and far from normal but the perks are far from average. I may not be in love with the job but I am in love with where the job has taken me, for the memories I’ve made and for that I’m grateful.