i spent $178 in one hour. to be more specific, it all went to getting on a plane and it was more than half of what i intended to spend during my stay in chicago. in one hour, i had enough bad, frustrating, and negative interactions to make me decide that my day was ruined before i had even had breakfast.
but before my horrible last morning, i had a wonderful, bittersweet last day. i spent the day going to all of my favorite places one last time and took a picture of each as i tried to capture all of the moments i wished would last forever. i sat and read my kindle at my favorite coffee shop, and then again at central park during my impromptu picnic. i visited times square and found myself still amazed at the grandiosity of the city. on this day, i was a tourist saying goodbye to a city i couldn’t possibly see all of as well as an extended visitor ready to call this place home.
on my last night in new york city, i decided that i wanted to watch the sun set and rise as a final farewell to a wonderful summer. naturally, i decided to stay up all night. at 4:30 in the morning, i packed up my belongings, and in a particularly good mood, headed out to get a taxi. i had already decided that it was going to be an exceptionally amazing day- especially because i was going to chicago to see my friends in chicago before i made my way back to oklahoma. i made a decision to be extra kind to all of the people i met on the way to my next stop.
but it only takes a few minutes to change your mind.
my over-priced $60 taxi put a damper on mood, as did the taxi driver’s impatience, but i decided to let it go. twenty minutes later it was harder to let go of being yelled at for accidentally cutting in line, and harder still to keep my chin up after realizing my check on bag was 16 lbs overweight (Spirit Airlines only allows 40 lbs instead of the 50 lbs i was used to), and after i found out i had to pay $40 to carry my small suitcase on the plane, i was no longer smiling. i proceeded to carry 16 lbs of clothes (my pant legs dragging on the ground and shirts falling on the floor) to a line that i seriously believed was a joke. by now, i think you get the point. while standing in line that extended down the hall, i had to let groups of people cut in front of me who had an earlier flight to catch, as well as all of the flight staff who were running a little late. to put it simply, it was no longer a good day. as the last flight attendant smiled and stated that he “had to go in front of me,” i decided that it was just going to be a bad day and that i would have to accept it— the day was ruined and i shouldn’t have stayed up all night.
my decision to accept the situation was a small step in the right direction. the money was absolutely gone and there was nothing i could do about it. i had to accept that i overpaid for a frustrating ride and that i had to pay more money than i planned to get all of my belongings home. but i was still mad. i also wanted to cry because my lack of sleep was catching up to me. in the end, i decided i needed to let it go. i think there is something to be said about acceptance; about allowing a situation to simply be what it is without trying to judge or change it. and i think it is a good tool to have to be able to recognize when situations are out of your control...when your energy could be better used elsewhere. but most importantly, i don’t think acceptance of a situation means that there aren’t things you can’t change. you can accept the way something is while still having the option of choosing how to respond and move forward. that’s the hard part.
i’ve learned that while you may accept a situation as it is, some things aren’t always as they seem.
i lent my cell-phone charger to a stranger who swore he would bring it back, and watched a screaming little boy run use the sitting area as a jungle gym. i listened to two strangers swap life stories about motherhood, and saw a women offer to help another person with their bags. in the midst of my awful day, there was good all around me.
after pouting about my delayed flight and rough experience, i sat down on an airport chair and chose a different kind of day.
after all, it is your day.