Monday, January 13, 2014

Life Lessons From a 90 Year Old

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio .
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short enjoy it.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the future.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don't worry, God never blinks.
16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19.. It's never too late to be happy. But it is all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33.  Believe in miracles .
34.  God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do. 
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45.  Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift." 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Say What You Need To Say

Just a little over 2 years and 6 months ago I attended Initial New Hire Training for the airline I currently work for. During the training, a pilot came to speak to us and asked for a commitment from each of us to email him and "Say what you need to say". I rose my hand that day and made that commitment to him....But I never emailed him and this has haunted me these 2 years and 6 months! I am a woman of my word and I have struggled with what to "say", But at last, I have decided on what I want to say. Let me first explain...

Without going into too much detail, I experienced a really painful, unfair and truthfully, horrid situation with someone who I have to deal with for the rest of my life. This person has made it their mission to destroy my life, marriage and anything else that they can when it comes to myself or my husband. In August, I was put through the ringer with this person. I was treated VERY unfairly and very hatefully. After all the years of staying silent and taking their abuse, I went home and I fell apart. I sobbed for 2 days, wanted to crawl into a hole and just fade away. Shortly after this event a dear friend stopped by knowing the history with this person. He sat with my husband and me and listened to my sobbings. I unloaded. Then he made a statement that was simple, pure and PERFECT! He said, "Mary, you need to go out and find someone to serve." My first response was "REALLY?!? how is this even possible? I fly all the time and am never home..."He simply and lovingly replied, "You'll find a way."

I pondered his counsel for the next 2 days (my off days). You see, I live in a small town (Midway,UT) and LOVE to serve having served on many committees including the Midway Boosters, serve as the Secretary of our local caucus, chair for the Swiss Miss Pageant, had various church callings and currently serve as Chair for Advertising/PR for our annual Swiss Days event held each Labor Day weekend (there's my plug!) My heart knew that he was exactly right but my conundrum was how to go about this "service" with my crazy flight attendant schedule? Then I had a crazy thought...I had a 4 day trip coming up (that I wasn't terribly excited about, to be honest) but maybe I could commit to myself that I would "SERVE" every passenger who stepped onboard my flights. And I mean REALLY serve them. 

I checked in for my first flight, not feeling so great, but the commitment that I had made to myself resonated in my ears..."Serve them, Mary...just serve them." It started very simply. I looked at the first passenger in the eye, smiled and said "Welcome aboard." Then looked at the next and did essentially the same thing, then the next passenger and the next and on and on...Yes, I looked every passenger in the eye and greeted them with sincerity, a smile and even appropriate compliments. It wasn't long before I began to feel real, sincere concern for them and, dare I say, even a sense of love for them. Since that day, I have changed my entire perspective of my "job" fact, it's no longer a job, I view it as a "Calling"! I know that sounds lame, but for me, it works! I look at it as a calling to touch the lives of others for the leave my passengers feeling even a little bit better than when they stepped on the plane. I can offer sincere understanding and genuinely touch the lives of others by simply listening, understanding and caring about the worth of each and every soul that I come in contact with. I try to be aware. As an example, a lady came onboard (a short non-service flight) and it was obvious that she had been crying. As soon as I could get out of my jump seat, I quickly wrote her a note simply saying, "I'm sorry that you're having a hard day. I hope I can make your day a little brighter" and dropped it off with some peanuts, pretzels and a cookie. She came to me later and told me that she had just lost a best friend to cancer, having just left her funeral then proceeded to give me a big hug and thanked me for my concern.

Like me, everyone has been treated unfairly and been betrayed by people in their lives. Like me, not everyone flies for pleasure and like me, everyone hurts.

I can't even begin to tell you how much better my life is both personally and professionally. I feel very liberated! When I fly with a negative or critical flight attendant (or Pilot), that's OK because I just work to serve them, knowing that they are hurting too...

As I attempt to bless the lives of others, my life has been more richly blessed. As a result, my passenger compliments have increased dramatically, both written and verbally (which is just a bonus). Please know that I am not tooting my own horn. I'm not perfect, but I love what I do and I do what I love. I am healing from the injustices that I experienced in August. I have learned to forgive, forgive and then forgive again. And I'm sure this will be a perpetual exercise for me throughout my life. And that's OK. I never would have believed that exhausted, sometimes ornery, cranky, even downright nasty passengers could help to heal me! But they have because I have learned to love them and understand that they hurt too and sometimes just a sincere smile can help lift their load I can even feel compassion (just a teeeeeeny bit) for the person who has hurt me...but it's a step! What a difference a paradigm shift can make!

In closing, let me quote the words of the great Paul McCartney, "...And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."


Thursday, January 9, 2014


Here I am...sitting in a hotel for 30 hours in Nashville, TN. It's a beautiful city, lots to do, and I'm getting paid but it's cold and rainy and we're not within walking distance from much...blah...

That's it!! I have a case of the "Blahs"!!

I recently applied for a position within my company which I KNOW I was qualified for. I still know it. When I first found out that I wasn't selected, I was, well quite frankly, shocked. I had a similar, almost identical position at Delta and did a great job at it. I felt my interview was good and left confident that I just might nail this...I was wrong.

As I stepped onto my plane yesterday to start a 4 day trip, I was...Blah. I didn't know the other crew members but had heard about the other flight attendant and had only heard good things. He didn't let me down! He is one of the sweetest guys I have flown with. We have laughed, giggled and chatted like two 12 year olds on a sleepover! I ADORE him and felt an instant connection. Shortly after we boarded, another flight attendant boarded our flight only to announce that he was doing a Safety Audit. I've never had one before, but it was great. I just did my job and he complimented me and said that he noticed that I was attentive to my job and that I really, genuinely cared about my passengers.

And I DO care about my passengers...every last one of them (I'll post about a major epiphany later).

I mentioned to him that I was not chosen for the recent position. He acted completely shocked saying how I was so perfect for this position and then proceeded to tell me that he too had been "rejected" for the very same position in the past. Now I was REALLY shocked. He was very sharp, professional, kind, caring, mature and seemed very capable.

It was amazing to me how people were placed in my life yesterday who lifted me and felt my worth. I am at peace with NOT being selected and, although I still know my abilities, for whatever reason it wasn't meant to be, I'm sorry that I was unable to portray accurately my skills and abilities...that's my responsibility, but life goes on. I will still continue to dazzle my passengers and give them the best me.

I doubt that I will ever again apply for any position that comes available...but, never say never! I'm happy where I am. So the Blahs will pass but in the meantime I am so thankful for new, lifelong friends and for peers who make my job easier and who bless my life just by being in it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Word

It's that time of year...the NEW year.

Like most people, I used to make a pretty hefty list of lofty goals that seemed honorable and needed for the upcoming year and like most people, I fell terribly short of the majority of my resolutions. So, I spent a few years where my rebellious nature refused to allow me to move forward with bright hope. Then I discovered the "One Word"

About 5 years ago I awoke early one January morning. It was dark and the stillness of the morning was calming and peaceful. I turned on my phone and saw my new calendar for the year. It was 365 blank days illuminated in the blackness of the early dawn. As I looked at each blank month, I was struck by the power of having a blank canvas staring me in the face and I changed.

I decided that since I was unsuccessful in making traditional resolutions, I had to do something different. So I came up with One Word. I printed it up, put it on my refrigerator and looked at it everyday. It served as the word that would dictate to me how each and every decision would be made.

In the past, I've chosen words such as Focus, Balance and Patience.

I have selected my word for 2014. It wasn't even on my radar until a few weeks ago, but I know it's MY word. It's the word I will think of when I'm faced with every decision, every interaction and most importantly, every frustration and challenge.

My word is: GRACIOUS

We live in a very ungracious world in many ways. I feel it's appropriate and necessary at this time of my life.

So to all of you, I commit to working on this. I look forward to becoming a more gracious person in a fast-paced, self-centered society where many are more concerned about themselves than anyone else.

May God bless you all...