When you think about how to get back on track, you might realize that it’s funny how things work out.
I usually seek out non-stop flights because connections increase the probability of delays or cancellations. But this time was different. I needed to book a flight to Orlando, where I was scheduled to present a workshop on work-life balance. Normally, I fly in the evening before, in time to have dinner with whoever has hired me. This time, however, I decided that I wanted to arrive in the early afternoon so that I could take advantage of the hotel pool.
You see, back in March I committed to participate in a triathlon. My friend Cheryl Ludwick asked me to be on her team for the Spa Girl Tri. Despite my athletic background, I’ve pretty much retired from strenuous exercise. I just stick to walking. But she had me at “Spa.” She would handle the running, another lady would bike, and I’d swim. When I looked into the details, I discovered that I’d only need to swim a quarter mile. 400 meters. In a lazy river. Which means I could stand up and walk it if I got tired. And there’d be mimosas and food at the finish line. This is my kind of tri!
Since I don’t have a pool or live near one, I decided that I’d do my training on the road. I’d swim at every hotel that I’d stay in prior to the Spa Girl Tri. And that’s why I decided to take a connecting flight to Orlando – because it would get me there earlier in the day than the non-stop option.
As I sat on the first leg of the flight, I saw a familiar face walking down the aisle. I hadn’t seen this business contact in forever, so we did some catching up during our connection to Houston. When he asked what my afternoon plans were in Orlando, I told him about my “training” and he said, “Oh yeah. I heard about that tri. It’s Mother’s Day weekend.”
“I know,” I said. “I’ve only got one more month to train!”
On my connecting flight to Orlando, as I unpacked my picnic lunch while waiting for my gin and tonic to arrive (thank you Southwest for my drink coupons!), I thought about Mother’s Day weekend, and it hit me that my husband and I are both motherless.
I was instantly sad and started tearing up – even though this fact shouldn’t be a surprise.
My mother-in-law passed away 20 years ago, so our Mother’s Day weekends for the last two decades had consisted of sending cards to and calling my mom in L.A. But since my mom passed away in August, there would be no more Mother’s Day activities.
This is an example of how random thoughts can pop into your head. In my case, these types of thoughts can throw me back into the dark cloud that I had to work my way out of last August, September and October. Not only did I not want to go back to that fog, but I also had a client who was expecting me to bring my A game to her conference, so I couldn’t afford to become a basket case.
And all of this transpired because I wanted to drink mimosas. It’s funny how things work out.
How to get back on track
Some people might say there’s no connection. Others might say that it’s quite a coincidence. And some might say that it was meant to be. No matter the case, I was put into a situation that required me to deal with emotions from the past and move forward all at the same time.
So, what did I do to get my head back on straight without repressing my feelings?
I shed a few tears, then wiped them away and got refocused on life in the present. I noted some ideas about how my husband and I could honor our departed moms, then vented through this journal (which turned into a blog post), then got my head back on straight for what needed to happen for the next 24 hours.
There’s no telling when events or thoughts will knock you off track. To get back into the swing of things faster, acknowledge your emotions, have a couple of go-to ways to vent, and get refocused on the present.
What venting methods can you fall back on in order to get back on track?
And, on a personal note, I hope that if your mom is still present on this earth, you do something special with her. Life’s too short not to.