Not so long ago I was writing from Belfast International Airport. That is a journey I wish to forget quickly. In the middle of the coldest weather that the UK and Ireland had experienced we spent three days waiting for a flight to take us the 50 minutes of flying time home, even then I ended up in Stanstead rather than Gatwick. I even ended up on LBC Radio to have a pop at the inadequacies of SleasyJet. Don’t get me started 🙂
Now, unlike some people I was speaking to recently, I love airports. Love the idea that being in an airport usually implies you are going somewhere, meeting people and possibly about to add something wonderful to your memory banks. Secretly, every time I have a mid to long haul flight I enable a countdown timer on my phone. I look forward to that wee notification every morning.
Ahead of this trip, I had a view that we had Christmas, then sometime after that I would be heading to Japan. Man did I take my eye off the ball. The first day back at work came with the realisation that I was only going to be around for 3 days before I headed off… 😬
Then came the strikes. The UK is a disaster at the moment, the Nurses that we were peer pressured into clapping for during the pandemic are now suddenly not worthy of well, worthy pay. For clarity, I had an issue with the crowd control measures that forced the clapping not the merit of the medical community, I have huge admiration of these folk and strongly believe that they are underpaid.
My flight today departs from Heathrow which is right across London from my wee house and of course, the rail strikes which hadn’t really hit my local station now caused it to be closed. Everyone had hit up Uber and the surge charge was immense, not economically viable to get to the airport. Thankfully, I have wonderful people in my life who drove me right into the heart of London to get the only train that it seems was going to Heathrow. I can’t tell you the amount of sleepless nights that I had, roused from dreams where I was convinced I would miss my flight.
Now is a time to decompress, find the time to immerse myself in my training. For me personally, Okinawa in January time was perfect for this exercise. I could disassociate from my working brain and focus on trying to be present in my training. Of course I know this is a huge luxury don’t get me wrong. I read a book recently by a Professor of Psychology I really rate, Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention (Csikszentmihalyi, 2013). One of his central theories is related to flow and this is something that I will be seeking over the next week. In his words
happiness is not something that happens, that money or power can command. Happiness is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated and defended privately by each person. It is only by controlling our inner experience that we can become happy. Happiness cannot be reached by consciously searching for it. As J S Mill once put it, “Ask yourselves whether you are happy and you cease to be so”Cziksentmihalyi, 1990