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Like Monday for me. I got the time of my plane departure mixed up in my head with the time I needed to be at the airport. My husband kindly pointed this out to me an hour before my plane was supposed to leave. I was in the shower at the time. I’ll let you imagine that little scenario on your own.
Twenty minutes later, we are at the airport. I am at the counter, shaking, panicked, trying to check a bag for my week-long business trip (the bag I spent two hours packing the night before). Unfortunately for me, the cutoff time for checking a bag is 45 minutes before your flight. It is 42 minutes before my flight and the gate agent is resolutely refusing to check my bag. “I can book you on a flight leaving tomorrow at ten” he says. We argue and we argue about the difference between 45 minutes and 42 minutes and he is unmoved and it is now 35 minutes before my flight.
And then, standing there in my decidedly un-businesslike black yoga pants and favorite travel swing top, I had one of those moments of clarity. One of those, what-really-matters-here moments.
I can live without my stuff, what I need is to get my body to that meeting.
No, I told the gate agent, get me on my plane.
I pull one pair of heels and a dress out of my suitcase, stuff them in my purse and leave the bag at the checkout counter (yes, I really did). I pray that noone will steal it in the time it takes some family member to come to the airport and pick it up). Grab the boarding pass from the gate agent and RUN.
I race to security, apologize, beg and bully every single person in line to let me through to the front, purse and computer through machine, body through x-ray, run to my gate. Arrive with fifteen minutes to spare. Call husband, whose phone is off. Call mom, please come pick up my bag? Mom says of course, and I wonder that I am a grown-ass woman and yet still depending on my mom. Google consignment stores in the city I am flying to. Board plane, feeling strangely light and giddy.
In the hours between landing and the beginning of my meeting, I uber over to the consignment store and buy enough clothes for my five day meeting. Shirley, the owner, was beyond fabulous. She gave my 50% off everything I picked out, and we laughed the whole time. “Just breathe” she kept telling me, “You’re going to be fine”. Then Target for a toothbrush, deoderant and the bare minimum of make-up, and TJ Maxx for a clearance-priced suitcase (ugly, but vastly servicable) to stuff all my new stuff in.
And here I am.
Grateful that, by the grace of God, I managed to get here, on time and fairly focused. Grateful for Shirley, who clothed my rattled ass at garage sale prices. Grateful for my mom, who dropped everything to go pick up my suitcase.
Plans? Plans are good. Plans are important.
But, if the need arises, I hope you can drop those plans and run like hell into your unexpected new reality. Take care of the core.
And laugh. Again, we none of us is perfect, but life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.