I Missed My Flight

I Missed My Flight

“Oh my God”, I gasped, laptop open to the airline check in page.

It would not let me check in online. And that’s when I noticed the time…and the date of departure.

Hand over my mouth, my throat closing in, I shouted to my husband who was now scrambling to my side, “I’ve missed my flight”.

“How? No. What? How?” were the string of words he uttered, then looked at where my finger was pointing and he said the same, “Oh my God.”

And then I lost it. I started hyper ventilating, arms flailing, heart pounding, tears bursting forth. I screamed and cried, “How could I have been so stupid, so careless? How could I have missed this detail?” I was spinning out of control with anxiety, fear and utter embarrassment.

It was only 10 weeks earlier that I had signed on to the opportunity presented to me by the University I worked for to move into a new department and be part of the facilitation team launching a new blended model of course delivery that would be launching around the world, beginning in SE India. It had been a whirlwind since of meetings, class completions, course taking, course writing, meetings, shots, visa’s, (did I mention meetings?).

My beautiful husband and three stellar adult kids all without hesitation encouraged me to move ahead with this new venture. They all believed that this was the next step for me and my career and their faith in releasing me is a gift of trust and generosity I do not take lightly.

I had been so intentional with my schedule the last 10 weeks in order to achieve some semblance of balance between accomplishing all that needed to be done with my growing responsibilities at work and also the important commitments I had already made in my personal life — a week-long holiday with my husband and kids at a mountain retreat, planning 6 large social event celebrations over the summer for my family and close friends (graduation, 50th birthday, 90th birthday, forever family celebrations), an Alaskan cruise with my dad and three sisters to celebrate his 90th birthday which was planned well over 6 months ago.

And the week leading up to my departure was quality family time, visits with close friends, calls and texts with those whom I could not meet in person, packing and checklists.

All the while the departure date of September 10th was seared into my brain.

Only it was the wrong date.

I was supposed to leave September 9th.

Between sobs and hysterics, my husband was on the phone with the airline and I was leaving frantic messages with my colleague who was scheduled to pick me up at the airport in Chennai ON THE CORRECT DATE AND TIME, we managed to find someone who spoke english who had wisdom and the authority to find me a flight the following night that would get me to India 24 hours later than originally scheduled (cue the MasterCard).

And here I am in my apartment in Chennai, a mere 6 days from the chaos of manic Monday. And while it did {all work out}, I am still troubled with how upset I got. I was out of my mind crying and panicking and self-loathing. And taking a balcony look at the events that led up to the mix-up and my over-reaction, I realized deep down the limiting belief that says, “Brenda when you make a mistake, particularly a large, costly mistake, you are not good enough, you are a fraud, and who do you think actually you are?”. Those old worn out tapes of unattainable perfectionism still get played in my head.

Six days out I have been able to massage some grace and kindness back in those awful hours. And I am also reflecting on why I went so crazy so quickly. Is that my true nature or my shadow self? And how come all the leadership lessons and maturity I generally embody went out the window so quickly?

I think I have a clue…you see I am here in India launching a pilot program I feel barely equipped to do, giving a speech in three days that is incomplete and facilitating a class that I am still writing. All those tensions I had been carrying around inside were knotted up so close to the surface of my “you are not enough” facade. So when the match of “you missed your flight” was ignited, all those tensions became the fuel that unleashed that bonfire.

It’s Saturday evening in Chennai. I just had chai and some kind of yummy spicy noodles Sumite, the hostel caretaker, has kindly brought me. While my work load is still intense, my speech not yet completed, and jet-lag is still lingering, I am taking deep breaths and reminding myself that I am enough for today.

PS — Double check your flight itinerary folks. And remember that the airlines use a 24 hour clock so 2:00 is 2:00 am and 14:00 is 2 pm (you’re welcome).