Have you seen the movie “Planes Trains and Automobiles”? If you haven’t seen the classic 1987 Planes Trains and Automobiles comedy, I highly recommend it for gut laughter!
If you have lived long enough or done any traveling you know life does not always go as planned. For those of you who travel, you have seen the people who explode with travel complications at the airport and those that laugh at how comical some trips can be.
On a recent trip from Ohio to Wichita Falls, I ended up at the San Angelo airport. It wasn’t the plane I originally was supposed to use to get to my destination. However, after delays due to weather, it was the only airplane I could take to get to my meetings on time. We had been in the air about an hour headed to Lawton when the pilot had announced how we were running out of gas so we had to land at the closest place we could which is how I ended up farther away from my destination. He explained due to the delay on the runway waiting to get in the air, we missed our window of opportunity to get through the bad weather. While disappointed, I had still kept my patience.
While refueling in San Angelo, they announced there were some odd noises with the plane so they decided to have maintenance take a look and discovered it was an issue with the brakes. They allowed everyone to get off but made it clear if anyone went past the gate area they would not be allowed back on the plane and there were no other flights departing. After hours of everyone hanging around in the gate area, they made an announcement saying once they “jack around with the brakes we should be able to get on our way.” While in most cases that would instill fear, most people found it comical and kept a good sense of humor. That humor and shared experience formed camaraderie of all the passengers.
Much like my past travel delays, cancellations, 9-hour bus rides, sleeping at airports and sharing a rental car, keeping a good attitude during those experiences has led to connections, lasting laughter, getting sent chocolate, and hearing other’s interesting life stories. Those stories have been some of my favorite to share.
When you can look at any of life’s detours or mishaps as an adventure and embrace the crazy with a sense of humor as if it will be a good story, it shows you can control your state of joy, patience, and mental health. Yet, for all of us, it can be a constant battle that requires controlled thought.
On my way home on that trip, I was more tired given the even longer delays. I noticed as I let myself think about how much I wanted to get off the plane, the more agitated I became. When I switched to just enjoying the present, I found my peace with the misfortunes.
Fortunately, I did arrive in Lawton and found an Uber to Wichita Falls and made it in time for my meetings. I also made it back home at 3:30 AM. While it was late, I met people on my journey that do that trip every week. It shows there is always a fellow traveler experiencing something worse to put your life into perspective.
Next time you are in a situation you cannot control, think of “Planes Trains and Automobiles.” Also, think of how it could be worse. Then start thinking about how you can embrace the moment and turn your unplanned misfortune into a good story! Keep traveling above the clouds.