The plane is descending into London. If this were any other time, I’d be ecstatic–I love London. However, this time London was not my destination. So, then, why then am I minutes from landing in Heathrow Airport?
This trip’s debacle is thanks to a maintenance issue with my United flight. Can the trip be saved? Absolutely, if I can make this new detour through London work. But Heathrow is a large, meandering, patchwork of an airport and my connection window through that maze is narrow. I’ll also have to hope the connecting flight makes it, and so on down the chain of steps before I can reach the destination. So I really don’t know what will happen. Some things are just out of my control. But that’s OK because I can always make course corrections–those are under my control. At any point in time, given my current circumstances, I can always choose to take the best next step towards where I’m trying to go. No matter what happens, I can always choose how I respond to others, I can choose how I feel internally even when something else goes wrong, and I can choose what I want to do going forward.
This trip is kind of like life in general. You set off, chasing some goal, but then life happens while you are trying to achieve it. You may make mistakes and have to overcome self-imposed obstacles. You may also run into problems that are outside your control–external events or other people may throw obstacles into your path (Hi there, United). But whether caused by you or by someone or something else, don’t beat yourself up. Global optimization isn’t what we are looking for here, where you make some initial plan and expect it to execute flawlessly over time. Life is dynamic, foggy, and messy, and you are almost guaranteed to get a curveball or two thrown your way no matter what you are doing. That goal you set yesterday may not even make sense by the time you get to today. So just remember you always have choices of how to feel, how to respond, and when to take that next step from where you are right now.
For me, given my current location, I think I’ll go have a spot of tea. It’s not my usual drink, but I know this cup of tea will be quite satisfying and just what I need, right now. Then, onwards.