How Much Fun is Too Much Fun? An Overscheduled Flight Attendant Wonders.
Flight Attendants hate being overscheduled.
I’ve talked about this in several posts now, and this disdain for too many plans made #3 on the Top 7 Most Annoying Things About Flight Attendants list. But in case you missed it, here’s why:
Our work schedules rule our lives, so having to fill our days off with events for other people can feel self-sacrificing. This is especially true of advance plans. Sitting down to make our schedule for the following month and needing so many days off for one event or another can sometimes make it difficult to even find time to work. We flight attendants can start to feel resentful of having too many plans before the month has even begun. Being overscheduled is one of those quintessential flight attendant pet peeves.
Recently I had a spell of pure business with plans so stacked that I have barely found time to sleep in the last week and a half. I have no one to blame but myself this time though, as I did all the planning and organizing. I made this insane schedule.
And despite the initial overwhelm, these wild weeks had an outcome that was surprising. I felt good—great, even. Grateful, warm and fuzzy. I would do it all again. In just the same, jam-packed way.
Here’s how I leaned into my crazy-busy, over-booked schedule and found the shift in perspective I needed.
How Much Fun is Too Much Fun?
By an Overscheduled & Underslept Flight Attendant
With the exception of December 2020, when I closed on my house, this month has been my busiest in over a year. For the past two weeks I’ve been on the go.
“But Toni, you’re a flight attendant. You’re always on the go.”
Touché, reader, way to put me in my place. But this was different. This time around I was busy not with some boring old flights, but with real life things. Fun things, in fact. So many fun things that my head was spinning wondering if I could actually pull off fitting them all in and live to tell about it.
Well, since I’m writing this and you’re reading it, the cat’s out of the bag about my survival. But this long stretch of balls-to-the-wall busy had me running on fumes and battling bouts of stress.
Thursday I had a double header of fun, spending the morning at the beach and the evening at Fenway Park with my dad to watch the Red Sox face off against the Yankees—a present for his recent 60th birthday. The game started out boring, you know, as baseball can, but ended up being quite exciting in the end. Especially since the Red Sox won. As happy as we were for the win, after a rain delay and going into extra innings, leaving the park at midnight I was completely exhausted.
Friday was a catch-all day of beauty appointments, last minute errands, allll the laundry, and packing for the busy weekend ahead. And boy, oh boy, it would be busy.
Me and Dad, aka my face twin, watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees
Saturday was a triple-threat kind of day. I had a lunch scheduled with my nephew, who I have not seen and miss terribly. A Mexican lunch and a couple hours at the arcade later, the hour and a half drive was well worth the time spent. The next stop, an hour away, was to pick up my niece, who I also have not seen in months. A girls’ date was in order—complete with dinner, fro-yo, and trying on ridiculous sunglasses in the mall.
These kids are growing up so fast that it doesn’t feel real. I remember when they were cute little kids and now they are full-sized human people. They have their own interests and friends, they have giant feet that fit in adult-sized shoes. They will be going to high school soon, to prom, they’ll start dating. The horror! I was grateful they wanted to spend time with me, on a Saturday in the summer. They may be getting closer to teenage-ville, but they are not quite too cool for their old auntie yet. This may have been my favorite of all my busy-week activities. My heart bursting with gratitude and love for these little weirdos, I continued on in the nighttime dark to my next destination. Another cool 1.5-hour drive to Portland, Maine.
He got me this fan with some of his arcade tickets <3
Dinner for two and plenty of 'tude
My classmates from airline training and I travel together every fall. We’ve danced at Oktoberfest and run races in Singapore and seen sex shows in Amsterdam and had a lot of fun along the way. Things have been different this year, of course, and we have not been able to travel together. We have, however, been able to make it work. Instead of foreign lands, we’ve been gathering for birthday dinners at home and lobster bakes in the back yard. This time around was Meagaan’s birthday. Meagaan’s a native Mainer, so I was driving to her cute house, where I hoped to go to bed early in preparation for the big birthday celebration Sunday. Instead, I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning playing card games, eating freeze pops and laughing with my pals. Exactly zero regrets.
Birthday celebrations on Sunday involved embarking on a ferry out of Portland to Diamond Cove Island, where we would brunch at an adorable (and very gram-able) little restaurant called Crown Jewel with great food. We ate, they drank, we took crew pics and enjoyed the warmth of the afternoon sun, late to make an appearance, but worth the wait. I had so much fun with my friends it felt sad to leave them. But alas, more fun called. More driving, too. To Boston. To sleep for just a few hours before a disturbingly early morning at the airport.
Aren't my friends cute though?
“The Professional Hobo”
We had some fun.
Monday morning I hopped a flight to Mexico City, where I’m writing this now, to spend a few days away soaking in the nostalgia of the city I called home briefly in 2019 and catching up with an old friend.
It’s been a hectic week. Full. Jam-packed. A little harried and crazy. But you know what?
Every single bit of it was worth it.
I embarked on my two-hour drive from Maine feeling stuffed to the gills with gratitude, my cup so full that it might just spill should I hit a bump on the highway.
I basked in the afterglow of being around some of my favorite people in the world. I lauded my ability to fit it all in after all, despite the schedule looking terrible if not impossible on paper. And while I was a bit nervous about the prospects of making it on one of the very full flights to Mexico City, (and for good reason I found out in the morning, as the first plane pulled away without me on it), I also knew that I would make it happen, just as I had all of the other fun things.
My CDMX trip has basically just been eating my way around the city. Not mad about it.
This unexpected burst of gratitude and good old-fashioned enjoying myself got me thinking about the months ahead.
I have bachelorette parties and weddings and solo vacations planned. I have music writing days with my cousin Jon and beach days to squeeze in before the summer ends and other friends to catch up with. This on top of the usual humdrum work of homeownership that never seems to end and working a full-time job and running a website. I’ll admit I’ve had a twinge of the flight attendant scaries. I’ve been avoiding looking at my calendar for August. It is so stacked with work and fun that I can feel the sleep deprivation already, in advance. Individually they’re all things I am SO excited to do, but in aggregate it looks overwhelming. Exhausting. It can make me a little jealous of all the time I’m giving up for planned external events at the expense of “me time” (There’s the introvert we know and love!)
But this busy week shifted my perspective.
There may be a few days of little sleep in the coming months. But there will be time for sleep. Eventually there will. There will be enough time to fit it all in. And fun is as important a thing to schedule as anything else. I’ll repeat that for those of you who think like me:
Fun is as important a thing to schedule as anything else.
As important as your doctor’s appointment. Your home maintenance and renovation projects. Your full-time job. Your side hustle. If you’re not having it, then what is the point of it all?
Today, I can look to the months ahead with joy instead of stress. There will be long car rides and plane rides and playing the non-rev game. Missing flights and rushing to find a backup plan. Money flying out of my bank accounts. But there will also be eruptions of belly laughter, awe-inspiring scenery. Sweaty, tired accomplishment at the end of a hike. Creative breakthroughs, live music washing over me. And witnessing my best friend’s biggest day, likely crying all my makeup off. It will be a balancing act. But isn’t balance the best thing for us?
As a flight attendant, I’m protective of my schedule. Constantly worried if I over-extend myself there won’t be enough time left for me. I think all of us can get a bit overwhelmed looking at the next month’s schedule, feeling like our every moment is plotted out and that time is flying by. This post is mostly a gratitude post. How lucky I feel to have the people I have in my life and to have such awesome, fun ways, to jam-pack my schedule.
But this post is also a reminder—for you and me. A reminder that fun is worth scheduling. Even committing to. (And you know how I feel about commitment.)
If you don’t carve out the time for fun, you could go your whole life waiting for things to “slow down” before you have any. We are only here for a short time. Let us not forget what is truly important. And let us not squander the precious time we have left.
Feeling hella grateful for these people.
I know you’re tired. I feel your pain. But go to that dinner with friends anyway. You’ll feel better afterward. Make the drive—or even the flight—to see family. Don’t look at your whole month’s or even week’s schedule if it overwhelms you. Instead, take on one fun thing at a time. Focus on just that next right step. (I believe this is called “living in the moment”).
Take deep breaths. Be grateful for the people in your life—and all the plans, too. Give in to laughter. Enjoy yourself.
It can be easier than you think.
Anyone else feeling the post 2020 overwhelm from suddenly having way too many plans? Or is this everything you’ve been waiting for? What fun things do you have coming up!? We’d love to hear them. If you have any tips for beating overwhelm, please leave those in the comments as well!
I hope you all have a safe, happy, and fun weekend. Wherever your travels may take you.
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I mentioned I’m back in Mexico City right now. If you’d like to read more about my time in Mexico City or things to do outside of the city in Mexico, then check out these posts:
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